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Common causes and types of amnesia

According to medilexicon.com’s medical dictionary, amnesia is "A disturbance in the memory of stored information of very variable durations, minutes to months, in contrast to short-term memory, manifest by total or partial inability to recall past experiences." The condition is more than being a little forgetful. It is large scale memory loss of things that should not have been forgotten, such as key people in your life, memorable events, vital facts and important milestones in life.

Causes of amnesia

Amnesia is traditionally an important indicator of concussion. The main cause of the medical condition is damage or injury to the limbic system of the brain that controls our emotions and memory. Brain structures in the limbic system that can get injured or damaged include the thalamus and hippocampus.

Types of amnesia

Different types of amnesia are known. Three of the most common types of amnesia are:

Anterograde amnesia

Anterograde amnesia is a condition where the patient cannot remember new information and events that happened recently. Recent events and new information should ordinarily be stored in short term memory, but this does not happen in anterograde amnesia. The cause of anterograde amnesia is usually brain trauma as a result of brain damage from a blow to the head. Patients can, however, remember events and data that happened before they suffered the injury.

Transientglobal amnesia

Transient global amnesia is a rare type of amnesia that involves temporary loss of all memory, including inability to form any new memories in severe cases. Loss of past memories is, however, not severe. Transient global amnesia tends to affect older patients who have vascular diseases or medical problems with the blood vessels. Patients may suffer episodes of spontaneous memory loss.

Traumatic amnesia

Traumatic amnesia occurs as a result of a hard blow to the head. Road accident victims, for example, may experience traumatic amnesia, which causes memory loss. In most cases, traumatic amnesia is temporary although patients may briefly experience loss of consciousness or go into a coma. The duration of recovery from the memory loss will usually depend on the severity of the brain injury.

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