Published online Apr 28, 2014. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v6.i4.93
Revised: February 20, 2014
Accepted: March 13, 2014
Published online: April 28, 2014
Core tip: Functional magnetic resonance imaging investigations of patients with impaired autobiographical memory (AM) can greatly contribute to further our understanding of brain reorganization mechanisms and engagement of compensatory processes after damage to the medial temporal lobe. These investigations are reviewed here. Overall, they highlight the importance of the left hippocampus, which when atrophied and not functional leads to deficits in AM but its residual functionality may support relatively normal AM recollection. When damaged hippocampal tissue is not functional, other brain regions (e.g., the medial prefrontal cortex) may be involved to compensate impairment, but they appear generally ineffective to support detailed recollection.