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Breast cancer affects both the hippocampus volume and the episodic autobiographical memory retrieval.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Neuroimaging studies show the hippocampus is a crucial node in the neural network supporting episodic autobiographical memory retrieval. Stress-related psychiatric disorders, namely Major Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), are related to reduced hippocampus volume. However, this is not the case for remitted breast cancer patients with co-morbid stress-related psychiatric disorders. This exception may be due to the fact that, consequently to the cancer experience as such, this population might already be characterized by a reduced hippocampus with an episodic autobiographical memory deficit. METHODOLOGY: We scanned, with a 3T Siemens TRIO, 16 patients who had lived through a "standard experience of breast cancer" (breast cancer and a standard treatment in remission since 18 month) in the absence of any associated stress-related psychiatric or neurological disorder and 21 matched controls. We then assessed their episodic autobiographical memory retrieval ability. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Remitted breast cancer patients had both a significantly smaller hippocampus and a significant deficit in episodic autobiographical memory retrieval. The hippocampus atrophy was characterized by a smaller posterior hippocampus. The posterior hippocampus volume was intimately related to the ability to retrieve negative memories and to the past experience of breast cancer or not. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These results provide two main findings: (1) we identify a new population with a specific reduction in posterior hippocampus volume that is independent of any psychiatric or neurological pathology; (2) we show the intimate relation of the posterior hippocampus to the ability to retrieve episodic autobiographical memories. These are significant findings as it is the first demonstration that indicates considerable long-term effects of living through the experience of breast cancer and shows very specific hippocampal atrophy with a functional deficit without any presence of psychiatric pathology.
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Contributor : Olivier Colliot Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 6:56:52 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 3:40:30 AM

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Loretxu Bergouignan, Jean Pierre Lefranc, Marie Chupin, Nastassja Morel, Jean Philippe Spano, et al.. Breast cancer affects both the hippocampus volume and the episodic autobiographical memory retrieval.. PLoS ONE, 2011, 6 (10), pp.e25349. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0025349⟩. ⟨hal-00795736⟩



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