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The hippocampus and delayed recall: bigger is not necessarily better?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

J K Foster, A Meikle, G Goodson, A R Mayes, M Howard, S I Sünram, E Cezayirli, N Roberts

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-733
Number of pages18
Issue number5-6
PublishedSep 1999

King's Authors


Healthy young female participants were tested on a measure of delayed verbal recall and then received volumetric Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. The analysis of the MRI scans focused on the volume of the hippocampus. Left hippocampal volume was negatively associated with the level of delayed verbal recall performance. This relationship was confirmed in further testing. This finding is consistent with a previous report of a similar relationship in healthy elderly individuals, but not in patients with Alzheimer's disease, in whom the opposite relationship was observed. An explanation of these findings in terms of impaired neural pruning of the hippocampus is advanced, whereby insufficient pruning of the hippocampus during childhood and adolescence (following adequate growth) may lead to reduced mnemonic efficiency.

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