Skip to main content Accessibility help

Hippocampal volume and retention in Alzheimer's disease



This study tested the hypothesis that the hippocampus has a relatively specific role in retaining information over delays. Thirty-seven subjects with probable Alzheimer's disease were evaluated with a verbal memory task and structural MRI. Cortical gray matter but not hippocampal volume predicted immediate free recall. In contrast, hippocampal volume was the best predictor of how well information was retained over a delay, even after controlling for levels of immediate recall. Results suggest that the role of the hippocampus is relatively specific to the consolidation of new memories. (JINS, 2004, 10, 639–643.)


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to: Joel Kramer, Psy.D., University of California, San Francisco, Campus Box 0984-PAC, 401 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143. E-mail:


Hide All


Braak, H. & Braak, E. (1995). Staging of Alzheimer's disease-related neurofibrillary changes. Neurobiology of Aging, 16, 271284.
Cahn, D.A., Sullivan, E.V., Shear, P.K., Marsh, L., Fama, R., Lim, K.O., Yesavage, J.A., Tinklenberg, J.R., & Pfefferbaum, A. (1998). Structural MRI correlates of recognition memory in Alzheimer's disease. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 4, 106114.
Christensen, G.E., Joshi, S.C., & Miller, M.I. (1997). Volumetric transformation of brain anatomy. IEEE Transactions Medical Imaging, 16, 864877.
Delis, D.C., Freeland, J., Kramer, J.H., & Kaplan, E. (1988). Integrating clinical assessment with cognitive neuroscience: construct validation of the California Verbal Learning Test. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 123130.
Fama, R., Sullivan, E.V., Shear, P.K., Marsh, L., Yesavage, J.A., Tinklenberg, J.R., Lim, K.O., & Pfefferbaum, A. (1997). Selective cortical and hippocampal volume correlates of Mattis Dementia Rating Scale in Alzheimer disease. Archives of Neurology, 54, 719728.
Fein, G., Di Sclafani, V., Tanabe, J., Cardenas, V., Weiner, M.W., Jagust, W.J., Reed, B.R., Norman, D., Schuff, N., Kusdra, L., Greenfield, T., & Chui, H. (2000). Hippocampal and cortical atrophy predict dementia in subcortical ischemic vascular disease. Neurology, 55, 16261635.
Fletcher, P.C. & Henson, R.N. (2001). Frontal lobes and human memory: Insights from functional neuroimaging. Brain, 124, 849881.
Hackert, V.H., den Heijer, T., Oudkerk, M., Koudstaal, P.J., Hofman, A., & Breteler, M.M. (2002). Hippocampal head size associated with verbal memory performance in nondemented elderly. Neuroimage, 17, 13651372.
Hsu, Y.Y., Schuff, N., Du, A.T., Mark, K., Zhu, X., Hardin, D., & Weiner, M.W. (2002). Comparison of automated and manual MRI volumetry of hippocampus in normal aging and dementia. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 16, 305310.
Jack, C.R., Jr., Petersen, R.C., Xu, Y.C., O'Brien, P.C., Smith, G.E., Ivnik, R.J., Boeve, B.F., Waring, S.C., Tangalos, E.G., & Kokmen, E. (1999). Prediction of AD with MRI-based hippocampal volume in mild cognitive impairment. Neurology, 52, 13971403.
Kohler, S., Black, S.E., Sinden, M., Szekely, C., Kidron, D., Parker, J.L., Foster, J.K., Moscovitch, M., Winocour, G., Szalai, J.P., Bronskill, M.J., & Winocur, G. (1998). Memory impairments associated with hippocampal versus parahippocampal-gyrus atrophy: An MR volumetry study in Alzheimer's disease. Neuropsychologia, 36, 901914.
Kopelman, M.D., Lasserson, D., Kingsley, D., Bello, F., Rush, C., Stanhope, N., Stevens, T., Goodman, G., Heilpern, G., Kendall, B., & Colchester, A. (2001). Structural MRI volumetric analysis in patients with organic amnesia, 2: Correlations with anterograde memory and executive tests in 40 patients. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 71, 2328.
Kramer, J.H. & Delis, D.C. (1998). Neuropsychological assessment of memory. In G. Goldstein & P.D. Nussbaum (Eds.), Neuropsychology. Human brain function: Assessment and rehabilitation (pp. 333356). New York: Plenum Press.
Laakso, M.P., Soininen, H., Partanen, K., Helkala, E.L., Hartikainen, P., Vainio, P., Hallikainen, M., Hänninen, T., & Riekkinen, P.J., Sr. (1995). Volumes of hippocampus, amygdala and frontal lobes in the MRI-based diagnosis of early Alzheimer's disease: Correlation with memory functions. Journal of Neural Transmission. Parkinsons Disease and Dementia Section, 9, 7386.
Mungas, D., Jagust, W.J., Reed, B.R., Kramer, J.H., Weiner, M.W., Schuff, N., Norman, D., Mack, W.J., Willis, L., & Chui, H.C. (2001). MRI predictors of cognition in subcortical ischemic vascular disease and Alzheimer's disease. Neurology, 57, 22292235.
O'Driscoll, G.A., Florencio, P.S., Gagnon, D., Wolff, A.V., Benkelfat, C., Mikula, L., Lal, S., & Evans, A.C. (2001). Amygdala-hippocampal volume and verbal memory in first-degree relatives of schizophrenic patients. Psychiatry Research, 107, 7585.
Petersen, R.C., Jack, C.R., Jr., Xu, Y.C., Waring, S.C., O'Brien, P.C., Smith, G.E., Ivnik, R.J., Tangalos, E.G., Boeve, B.F., & Kokmen, E. (2000). Memory and MRI-based hippocampal volumes in aging and AD. Neurology, 54, 581587.
Sass, K.J., Sass, A., Westerveld, M., Lencz, T., Novelly, R.A., Kim, J.H., & Spencer, D.D. (1992). Specificity in the correlation of verbal memory and hippocampal neuron loss: Dissociation of memory, language, and verbal intellectual ability. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 14, 662672.
Squire, L.R. (1992). Memory and the hippocampus: a synthesis from findings with rats, monkeys, and humans. Psychological Review, 99, 195231.
Squire, L.R. (1998). Memory systems. Comptes Rendus de L Academie des Sciences. Serie III, Sciences de la Vie, 321, 153156.
Stuss, D.T. & Alexander, M.P. (2000). Executive functions and the frontal lobes: A conceptual view. Psychological Research, 63, 289298.
Williams, J.M. (1991). Memory Assessment Scales. Odessa: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Winocur, G., McDonald, R.M., & Moscovitch, M. (2001). Anterograde and retrograde amnesia in rats with large hippocampal lesions. Hippocampus, 11, 1826.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
  • ISSN: 1355-6177
  • EISSN: 1469-7661
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed