Retrograde amnesia in dementia: comparison of HIV-associated dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and Huntington's disease.
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Remote memory was assessed in persons with HIV-associated dementia (HIV-D), probable Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Huntington's disease (HD) and in healthy controls. The clinical groups were similar in overall dementia severity. Each clinical group exhibited impairments on remote memory tests relative to controls; however, temporally graded memory loss with selective preservation of older information was observed in the AD group but not the HD or HIV-D group. Analysis of cued retrieval indicated a preferential cuing benefit for the HIV-D and HD groups relative to the AD group. The similar pattern of remote memory performance demonstrated by the HIV-D and HD groups is a novel finding and suggests a subcortically mediated retrograde amnesia in HIV-D. The temporally graded pattern and the abnormal cued retrieval performance in the AD group are consistent with a consolidation deficit associated with extrahippocampal (cortical) and hippocampal damage.