Memory impairment occurs in over a third of patients after symptomatic stroke. Memory deficits rarely occur in isolation but are an important component of the poststroke cognitive syndrome because of the strong relationship with the risk of poststroke dementia. In this review, we summarize available data on impairment of episodic memory, with a particular emphasis on the natural history of memory impairment after stroke and the factors influencing trajectory informed by an updated systematic review. We next discuss the pathophysiology of memory impairment and mechanisms of both decline and recovery of function. We then turn to the practical issue of measurement of memory deficits after stroke, emerging biomarkers, and therapeutic approaches. Our review identifies critical gaps, particularly in studies of the natural history that properly map the long-term trajectory of memory and the associations with factors that modulate prognosis. Few studies have used advanced neuroimaging and this, in conjunction with other biomarker approaches, has the potential to provide a much richer understanding of the mechanisms at play and promising therapeutic avenues.
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biomarkers, cognition, dementia, memory, prognosis