A large number of recent studies with PET and fMRI are providing evidence that, just as for language processing, memory involves localized areas organized into networks for specific functions. Imaging studies of normals show that some memory tasks activate the hippocampus, a part of the temporal lobe known to be important for various memory functions. PET studies of Alzheimer's Disease confirm lower activity in temporal lobe/hippocampal areas. In combination with genetic testing, functional imaging of these areas may have potential as an early screening for Alzheimer's Disease. Other memory studies address frontal lobe involvement. For example, Tulving and asso ciates have advanced the idea that functional imaging results indicate that the left prefrontal cortex is more related to retrieval of semantic information and encoding novel aspects of it into episodic memory; the right prefrontal cortex is more related to retrieval of episodic memory. Other work by Cahill and colleagues published in 1996 has reported correlations between GMR in the amygdala while subjects watch an emotional video and recall of the emotional information three weeks later. Interestingly, in this study, there was no mean difference in amygdala GMR between the emotional and neutral conditions, but the correlation technique showed significant correlations between amygdala GMR and subsequent memory in only the emotional condition. In general, memory research, like language processing research, benefits from an extensive empirical literature that is the basis for sophisticated theories which support testing explicit hypotheses about the brain with neuroimaging. This allows relatively rapid progress on basic issues as well as generating new hypotheses.

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