Amnesia

Common Name(s)

Amnesia, Amnestic syndrome

Amnesia is memory loss. Individuals with amnesia, also called amnestic syndrome, have difficulty remembering other people, places, events and experiences in their life. It is rare, however, for a person with amnesia to forget who they are. There are two main types of amnesia: anterograde and retrograde. Anterograde, which is the more common form of amnesia, refers to difficulty learning new information (forming new memories). Retrograde refers to difficulty remembering past events (recalling old memories). Both anterograde and retrograde amnesia can be permanent. A third type of amnesia, transient global, is a temporary form and is discussed in more detail in a separate entry (please also see: transient global amnesia). Symptoms of amnesia include a pattern of forgetfulness, false memories (either made up or misplaced in time), and confusion.

Factors that can increase the risk of, or even cause amnesia include stroke, a lack of oxygen to brain (often caused by a heart attack), brain inflammation, seizures, brain tumors, and degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Alcohol abuse and certain medications also increase the risk of amnesia.

To diagnose amnesia, doctors may first rule out other causes of memory loss such as dementia and depression. They will then collect a medical history, perform physical and cognitive exams, and often will order an MRI or CT of the brain to look for structural abnormalities that may be causing the amnesia. Treatments include occupational therapy to learn techniques for better memory formation as well as technology to help with day-to-day tasks. Individuals with severe amnesia often need supervision. Medication is not available for most types of amnesia. Avoiding behaviors linked to risk factors, such as alcoholism, will lower the risk for amnesia. Contact your doctor to discuss the most current treatment options available.

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Amnesia" for support, advocacy or research.

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General Support Organizations

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Amnesia" returned 399 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Risk factors of transient global amnesia: Three case reports.
 

Author(s): Simona Portaro, Antonino Naro, Vincenzo Cimino, Giuseppa Maresca, Francesco Corallo, Rosa Morabito, Rocco Salvatore Calabrò

Journal: Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Oct;97(41):e12723.

 

Transient global amnesia (TGA) is characterized by a sudden onset of anterograde and retrograde amnesia, sometimes associated with mild subclinical neuropsychological deficits and vegetative symptoms, lasting for days after the episode. Migraine history, cardiovascular risk factors, ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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United states of amnesia: rescuing memory loss from diverse conditions.
 

Author(s): Clara Ortega-de San Luis, Tomás J Ryan

Journal:

 

Amnesia - the loss of memory function - is often the earliest and most persistent symptom of dementia. It occurs as a consequence of a variety of diseases and injuries. These include neurodegenerative, neurological or immune disorders, drug abuse, stroke or head injuries. It has both ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Subarachnoid hemorrhage after transient global amnesia caused by cerebral venous congestion: case report.
 

Author(s): Yuta Maetani, Masahiro Nakamori, Tomoaki Watanabe, Hayato Matsushima, Eiji Imamura, Shinichi Wakabayashi

Journal:

 

Transient global amnesia is reported to be caused by cerebral venous congestion. Internal jugular venous flow reversal in particular with the Valsalva maneuver leads to cerebral venous congestion. In addition, Valsalva maneuver can also induce subarachnoid hemorrhage. Transient global ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Amnesia" returned 37 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Acetylcholine Neuromodulation in Normal and Abnormal Learning and Memory: Vigilance Control in Waking, Sleep, Autism, Amnesia and Alzheimer's Disease.
 

Author(s): Stephen Grossberg

Journal:

 

Adaptive Resonance Theory, or ART, is a neural model that explains how normal and abnormal brains may learn to categorize and recognize objects and events in a changing world, and how these learned categories may be remembered for a long time. This article uses ART to propose and ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Infantile Amnesia: A Critical Period of Learning to Learn and Remember.
 

Author(s): Cristina M Alberini, Alessio Travaglia

Journal: J. Neurosci.. 2017 Jun;37(24):5783-5795.

 

Infantile amnesia, the inability of adults to recollect early episodic memories, is associated with the rapid forgetting that occurs in childhood. It has been suggested that infantile amnesia is due to the underdevelopment of the infant brain, which would preclude memory consolidation, ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Remembering Preservation in Hippocampal Amnesia.
 

Author(s): Ian A Clark, Eleanor A Maguire

Journal: Annu Rev Psychol. 2016 ;67():51-82.

 

The lesion-deficit model dominates neuropsychology. This is unsurprising given powerful demonstrations that focal brain lesions can affect specific aspects of cognition. Nowhere is this more evident than in patients with bilateral hippocampal damage. In the past 60 years, the amnesia ...

Last Updated: 31 Dec 1969

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Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

Last Updated: 9 Aug 2018

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Hippocampal Sclerosis and Amnesia Not Due to Alzheimer's Disease
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Patients With Cognitive Disturbances

 

Last Updated: 18 Oct 2017

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Memory Modulation by Pain During Anesthesia
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Amnesia; Pain; Anesthesia

 

Last Updated: 14 Dec 2017

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