Research Paper

Topics: Hippocampus, Traumatic brain injury, Amnesia Pages: 5 (1465 words) Published: December 19, 2012
Research paper 1BD


Amnesia is the loss of memory and the inability to recall previously stored memories and information. However, it is not the same as simple forgetfulness, which is normal. It is a disturbance in one or several of the many memory systems in the brain (Sharma, Ashish). Amnesia can be brought on by several factors including stroke, a brain tumor, carbon monoxide poising, brain damage, alcohol and substance abuse, traumatic experiences such as witnessing a murder or sexual abuse, medications such as anesthesia and sleeping pills (relay health). In the medical field, Amnesia is categorized into two brain branches, retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Due to the complexities of Amnesia, there is also several other types of amnesia such as organic amnesia which results from temporal lobe dysfunction, and what makes it unique is the patients only forgets patches of memory. The two main branches of amnesia, anterograde and retrograde are both different in terms of the time period in which memory is lost, which is the loss of memory either before or after the traumatic event. When diagnosing a patient, a doctor would first analyze the symptoms. Then they most likely have the patient partake in memory games or other various tasks that would determine how well the patient concentrates, understands, remembers, makes decisions and to determine the severity of the patients condition. The doctor may also take blood tests, an MRI, CT scan or even a brain wave tracer called an EEG.

Anterograde amnesia is the loss of memory following a psychological or biological trauma and what further makes it different from retrograde amnesia is that new learning is impaired or difficult (Chara, Paul, J and Kathleen A Chara).

There are many causes of anterograde amnesia, the most common being head or brain trauma. However it does become more complex. This type of amnesia cab be caused by closed head injuries such as a car accident or sporting accident and open head trauma such as risky brain surgery. Severe closed head trauma is almost always accompanied by anterograde amnesia with the factor of duration or the amount of memory lost depending on the severity. Each patient’s severity and extent of memory loss is different. Interestingly, open head trauma and severe closed head penetration trauma can result in no loss of memory whatsoever (Kapur, N). This goes to show that amnesia truly depends on whether a part of the brain that is in charge of memory is damages or affected in the injury. Due to the advancement of technology, doctors, during the past decade have found that the brain seems to have multiple memory systems. Anterograde amnesia has been found to occur in patient with damage to the medial temporal area (hippocampus, entrained cortex) and diencepharic midline (thalamic nuclei maxillary nuclei) (Shimamura, Arthur P). It has also been found that damage limited to the hippocampus formation depends on the severity which causes anterograde amnesia (Amaral, David G). So this shows that anterograde amnesia can be cause by damage to one or more memory center in the brain. Either way, if damage is done to one or several memory centers in the brain, amnesia is inevitably the result. One other cause for anterograde amnesia that has been found is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is A very dangerous chemical because it is odorless and invisible so it can not be easily detected. When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it dilutes and decreases the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream which most commonly results in brain damage, due to insufficient oxygen levels in the brain. If one of the memory centers in the brain is damages due to the lack of oxygen, then it will surely result in amnesia.

Thanks to the advancement in technology, many treatment have been discovered and created in order to help those with anterograde amnesia. In minor cases, it has thankfully been found that the lost...
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