Amnesia - Memory Loss

Topics: Hippocampus, Amnesia, Brain Pages: 5 (1379 words) Published: November 9, 2012
Amnesia: Memory Loss

Thesis: Amnesia is a condition involving memory loss, which can cause people to lose their ability to memorize information and/or could cause people to be unable to recall information. I. General amnesia

A. Types of amnesia
1. Anterograde
2. Retrograde
B. Symptoms
II. Causes of amnesia
III. Diagnoses
C. How to determine
D. Treatments
IV. Prevention of amnesia

Amnesia: Memory Loss
Memory loss can be associated with many different conditions in today’s medical fields such as amnesia, Alzheimer’s disease, different forms of dementia, depression, or even a brain tumor. These conditions have similarities yet differences to define each one as a different illness. Amnesia is a well-known condition that is associated with memory loss in today’s medical world, which can cause people to lose their ability to memorize information and could cause people to be unable to recall familiar material.

Amnesia comes in various forms of memory loss; the two most frequently seen forms of this are anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia. Anterograde amnesia is when the brain gets damaged and new information after the incident cannot be stored. The patient that has had this happen to him can remember aspects of life that has happened before the incident (Nordqvist 2). New information that is gained after the occurrence cannot be stored. The International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation describes this condition: Anterograde amnesia refers to a deficit in encoding new information subsequent to a given and specific event in time, for instance trauma due to an accident or the onset of brain damage. Consequently, new information cannot be or is partially retained by the individual, which leads to a learning disorder. This type of amnesia can be partial (some of the information is forgotten), and often underlies the individual's subjective complaints; or total, and is therefore characterized by the individual's inability to recall daily life activities or progressive loss of information (1). Retrograde amnesia is contrary to anterograde amnesia. After a traumatic event, the individual cannot remember certain things that happened before it took place but can

normally remember anything that takes place after the incident. The degree of how much that can be remembered before the incident all depends on the amount of damage to the brain (de Guise 1).
Amnesia comes with diverse symptoms. The two main symptoms are “impaired ability to learn new information following the onset of amnesia” and “impaired ability to recall past event and previously familiar information” (Mayo Clinic Staff 2). Other signs consist of confusion, disorientation, false recollections, uncoordinated movements, inability to identify the current president, and many others. Any head injury that causes any of these symptoms could be a sign of amnesia.

The brain is a complex operating system that controls the body. The brain also controls memory. Damage from “accidents, encephalitis, or conditions that interrupt blood supply from the brain” can result in amnesia (Thompson and Madigan 119). Additional causes of amnesia can be but are not limited to such things as stroke, lack of oxygen to the brain, long-term alcohol abuse, and brain tumors. Lenore Terr, a clinical professor of psychiatry, states that a very common cause of retrograde amnesia is a concussion (67). Amnesia can also come about from emotional shock. This dissociative amnesia can be associated with being a victim of a crime, sexual abuse, child abuse, combat, and any other “intolerable life situation, which causes severe psychological stress and internal conflict” (Nordqvist 6).

When a person thinks that he has amnesia, he should take several steps to determine what it is and what should be done about it. The first step is to seek help from a doctor. An appointment should be made to determine what the...
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