Understanding Anterograde Amnesia

No time to do things. Sorry guys. But here’s a guest post from Allison Gamble of psychologydegree.net.

 

Anterograde amnesia is an ailment wherein the afflicted individual loses the ability to transfer new information to long-term memory after a brain injury, while long-term memories from before the injury remain intact. This means that a person who sustains a brain injury will likely have the same personality and the same amount of intelligence they did previously, but be unable to recall events from the recent past. Anterograde amnesia is a mysterious condition, as the exact process of storing memories is still largely unknown to scientists. However, to get a good understanding of the disorder, as many on-going studies are constantly producing new information on anterograde amnesia.

There are multiple causes for anterograde amnesia, all involving some drastic alterations to the brain. For instance, there are many drugs that can have an amnesic effect on patients. Likewise, alcoholic intoxication can also cause temporary anterograde amnesia, if large quantities of alcohol are consumed rapidly. Although the effects usually wear off after becoming sober, restoring memory creation, binge drinking or frequent “blackouts” can result in permanent brain damage.

Anterograde amnesia can also be caused when some people undergo brain surgery. For example, sometimes the removal of a tumor eradicates parts of the brain tied to memory circuits, such as the medial temporal lobe. Similarly, brain injuries that result in damage to the hippocampus, fornix or mammillary bodies can also cause this disorder.

Luckily, anterograde amnesia can usually be treated. Yet as health-cares.net explains, treatments vary depending on the original cause of the disorder. There are many cognitive rehabilitation methods that can teach sufferers strategies to cope with their impairment. If alcohol is the cause, then emotional support, proper nutrition and abstaining from alcohol are the best methods to prevent further memory damage. If the amnesia is caused by a concussion or brain injury, rest and sometimes memory exercises can be beneficial to improvement. Finally, therapy is usually the best option for patients suffering anterograde due to emotional trauma. Oftentimes, the brain, being a powerful and miraculous organ, will “remap” itself, resulting in the patient regaining the ability to store memories.

While some individuals with anterograde amnesia will recover on their own or after a bit of treatment, some cases are irreversible. When anterograde amnesia is permanent, all that can be done for the patient and their family and friends is to teach them how to cope with this ailment. It can be very stressful for both the sufferers and their loved ones, and depending on the severity, this might be a lengthy and trying process.

Anterograde amnesia is a very serious affliction that can result in major, permanent life changes for those suffering from the disorder. While it is possible to recover from the damage that results in anterograde amnesia, it is important to seek out proper medical attention to help ensure that the individual suffering from this disorder is cared for properly. Even if full recovery is not possible, it is entirely possible to learn how to cope with anterograde amnesia, and those afflicted can still lead full and happy lives.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Understanding Anterograde Amnesia

  1. I had a left temporal lobectomy in 1984 and have had anterograde amnesia since the surgery where I could enter no new information and in 2002, I have gotten better but I can still tell my memory entry is limited. Thank God for the existance of the long term memory. I was an orthopedic nurse but I had to stop working and go on Social Security because of the alteration in memory.

  2. Shemicka

    I have a traumatic brain injury and I am enduring loss of memory. I am currntly in graduate school, so my injury has not been the end of my life. I just don’t want it to last forever. Yes, I’ve learned how to cope, but at times, I just wish I could wake up and things would be back to normal. Like the time when I woke up in the hospital after my coma, things had suddenly changed for me. Please, just let me go back to the day before my accident. I’d make so many different decisions. I can’t turn back now, though, I can only look forward.

  3. Pingback: Amnesia Symptoms, Causes, Signs, Treatment and Prevention AmnesiaHealth Facts

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