I have often wondered if I have a memory loss deficit. I was very interested in writing to this to inform myself and most importantly, inform others of Anterograde Amnesia. You see, I was in a car accident ten months ago and though my memory has never been great, it seemed to get worse. I actually believe this may be my problem because I can’t seem to pick up new information as it comes along.
Anterograde amnesia is a memory loss problem, usually resulting from brain injury. Memories from events that occurred before the injury is most certainly safe but memories made since the accident may be lost. This means that you might have an excellent memory from your childhood but you might not remember much after this. Short- term memory is spared but one might be in a conversation and become distracted, therefore losing what the conversation was about.
It’s becoming very obvious that while it devastates memory for facts and events, someone is still quite capable of learning new skills and developing new habits. For example, being taught to write backwards or play a video game. The next day the amnesiac victim will claim to have no memory of the session, but when asked to do this… the person will usually perform quite well. Right now, there is serious study in the types of amnesia and how this can be used to help rehabilitate amnesic people.
Anterograde amnesia can occur following damage to at least three parts of the brain. The first and most well studied is the hippocampus. The hippocampus is associated with the medial temporal lobes of the brain. The hippocampus seems to act as a gateway for new information. Information must pass this point before being stored. If it’s damaged, new information can’t get through. As I mentioned before, old information is safe, it’s already passed through but new information is endangered. The hippocampus and medial temporal lobes can be damaged because of one of the following:
• Carbon Monoxide poisoning
• Almost drowning or suffocation
• The earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease
Some damage to the hippocampus naturally occurs in the course of normal aging, as well.
This can also occur during/after damage to the basal forebrain, a group of structures that produce acetycholine, a chemical that helps cells in the brain to store information while learning. The basal forebrain can be damaged by an aneurysm of the anterior communication artery. The anterior communication artery supplies blood to the basal forebrain.
Last but not least, anterograde amnesia can sometimes occur following damage to the diencephalon. This is a set of structures deep in the brain, including the medial thalamic nuclei. As of right now, there isn’t any reasonable understanding to why damage to these brain areas should sometimes result in a selective memory deficit such as amnesia. But, if you think you suffer from anterograde amnesia please see a doctor. This is a real medical condition and it will rob you of special moments in your life. You might also want to see a physician about Korsakoff’s Disease. This is a syndrome that can damage the diencephalon and CAUSE anterograde amnesia.
I am including a list of websites that may offer some type of help to you in this article.
Please, remember that these are not a substitute for consultation with an actual physician.