Amnesia is a profound memory loss which is usually caused either by physical injury to the brain or by the ingestion of a toxic substance which affects the brain. In addition, the memory loss can be caused by a traumatic, emotional event.
Amnesia can be a symptom of several neurodegenerative diseases; however, people whose primary symptom is memory loss (amnesiacs), typically remain lucid and retain their sense of self. They may even be aware that they suffer from a memory disorder.
People who experience amnesia have been instrumental in helping brain researchers determine how the brain processes memory. Until the early 1970s, researchers viewed memory as a single entity. Memory of new experiences, motor skills, past events, and previous conditioning were grouped together in one system that relied on a specific area of the brain.
If all memory were stored in the same way, it would be reasonable to deduce that damage to the specific brain area would cause complete memory loss. However, studies of amnesiacs counter that theory. Such research demonstrates that the brain has multiple systems for processing, storing, and drawing on memory.
More information on amnesia
What is amnesia? - Amnesia is a profound memory loss which is usually caused either by physical injury to the brain or by the ingestion of a toxic substance which affects the brain.
What types of amnesia are there? - Types of amnesia inclue anterograde amnesia, retrograde amnesia, transient global amnesia, traumatic amnesia, wernike-Korsakoff's psychosis.
What is anterograde amnesia? - Anterograde amnesia is a form of amnesia where new events are not transferred to long-term memory. Anterograde amnesia is a deficit in learning subsequent to the onset of the disorder.
What's retrograde amnesia? - Retrograde amnesia is a form of amnesia where someone will be unable to recall events that occurred before the onset of amnesia.
What is dissociative amnesia? - Dissociative amnesia is characterized by a blocking out of critical personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature.
What is infantile amnesia? - Infantile/childhood amnesia refers to a person's inability to recall events from early childhood. Infantile amnesia could be linked to language development.
What causes amnesia? - Amnesia has several root causes. Amnesia is usually caused either by physical injury to the brain or by the ingestion of a toxic substance which affects the brain.
What're the symptoms of amnesia? - People with amnesia have difficulty learning new information, and they have difficulty recalling previously learned information.
How is amnesia diagnosed? - In diagnosing amnesia and its cause, psychological exams may be ordered to determine the extent of amnesia and the memory system affected.
What is the treatment for amnesia? - Treatment of amnesia depends on the root cause of amnesia and is handled on an individual basis. Psychotherapy can be helpful for amnesia caused by emotional trauma.
How to prevent amnesia? - Amnesia is only preventable in so far as brain injury can be prevented or minimized. Brain infections should be treated swiftly and aggressively.