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Investigation of memory suppression in borderline personality disorder patients


Recently it has been suggested that hippocampus and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) are involved in the mechanism of suppression of unwanted memories, which may play a key role in the pathophysiology of some psychopathological symptoms, like emotional instability, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts (Anderson et al. 2004). These symptoms are often seen in subjects with stress related disorders (Sala et al. 2004), such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This is a severe mental disorder characterized by mood instability, impulse discontrol, instability of personal relationships, being frequently associated with hystory of childhood traumatic experiences. However, although its pathophysiology is still largely unknown, some brain imaging studies reported structural and functional abnormalities of hippocampus and DLPFC in BPD patients (Brambilla et al. 2004; Driessen et al. 2000). In this ongoing study we are investigating whether the repression mechanism is affected in BPD, possibly in part sustaining the pathophysiology and the psychopathology of the disorder.

Materials and methods

The Anderson's paradigm, which explores the capacity of remembering and suppressing pair of words previously learned, is being administered to patients with BPD and healthy controls.


Preliminary results will be presented at the congress.


The think/no-think paradigm from Anderson et al. (Anderson and Green 2001) investigating hippocampal/DLPFC functioning in memory suppression may be helpful to study the memory repression mechanism in patients with BPD.


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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Sala, M., Marraffini, E., Boso, M. et al. Investigation of memory suppression in borderline personality disorder patients. Ann Gen Psychiatry 5 (Suppl 1), S206 (2006).

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