Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Patient suffers severe amnesia but musical memory remains intact

Date:
August 21, 2012
Source:
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Summary:
Scientists have examined a professional cellist who suffered from encephalitis caused by a herpes virus. As a result of the inflammation, the patient developed serious disturbances in memory. Both his memory for the past (retrograde amnesia), as well as the acquisition of new information (anterograde amnesia) were affected. Whereas the patient was unable to recount any events from his private or professional life, or remember any of his friends or relatives, he retained a completely intact musical memory.

Together with his team, Prof. Christoph Ploner, director of the Department of Neurology at the Virchow campus, examined a professional cellist who suffered from encephalitis caused by a herpes virus. As a result of the inflammation, the patient developed serious disturbances in memory.

Related Articles


Both his memory for the past (retrograde amnesia), as well as the acquisition of new information (anterograde amnesia) were affected. Whereas the patient was unable to recount any events from his private or professional life, or remember any of his friends or relatives, he retained a completely intact musical memory. Furthermore, he was still able to sight-read and play the cello.

For the systematic examination of his musical memory, Dr. Carsten Finke, Nazli Esfahani and Prof. Christoph Ploner developed various tests that take the beginning of his amnesia into account. In comparison to amateur musicians and professional musicians from the Berlin Philharmonic, the patient showed a normal musical memory in all tests. He not only remembered music pieces from the past, but was also able to retain music he had never heard before.

"The findings show that musical memory is organized at least partially independent of the hippocampus, a brain structure that is central to memory formation," says Carsten Finke, the primary author of the study. "It is possible that the enormous significance of music throughout all times and in all cultures contributed to the development of an independent memory for music."

Carsten Finke and his colleagues hope that the intact musical memory in patients with amnesia can be used to stimulate other memory content. In this way, perhaps a particular melody can be connected to a person or an everyday task, for example taking medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carsten Finke, Nazli E. Esfahani, Christoph J. Ploner. Preservation of musical memory in an amnesic professional cellist. Current Biology, 2012; 22 (15): R591 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.05.041

Cite This Page:

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Patient suffers severe amnesia but musical memory remains intact." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821094043.htm>.
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. (2012, August 21). Patient suffers severe amnesia but musical memory remains intact. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821094043.htm
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Patient suffers severe amnesia but musical memory remains intact." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821094043.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) — The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) — Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) — You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) — According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins