Amnesia: Neurological disorder

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Amnesia: Neurological disorder Amnesia is a deficit in memory caused by brain damage or disease, but it can also be caused temporarily by the use of various sedatives and hypnotic drugs. The memory can be either wholly or partially lost due to the extent of damage that was caused. There are two main types of amnesia: retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is the inability to retrieve information that was acquired before a particular date, usually the date of an accident or operation. In some cases the memory loss can extend back decades, while in others the person may lose only a few months of memory.

Anterograde amnesia is the inability to transfer new information from the short-term store into the long-term store. People with anterograde amnesia cannot remember things for long periods of time. These two types are not mutually exclusive; both can occur simultaneously. Case studies also show that amnesia is typically associated with damage to the medial temporal lobe. In addition, specific areas of the hippocampus (the CA1 region) are involved with memory.

Research has also shown that when areas of the diencephalon are damaged, amnesia can occur. Recent studies have shown a correlation between deficiency of RbAp48 protein and memory loss. Scientists were able to find that mice with damaged memory have a lower level of RbAp48 protein compared to normal, healthy mice.[citation needed] In people suffering with amnesia, the ability to recall immediate information is still retained, and they may still be able to form new memories. However, a severe reduction in the ability to learn new material and retrieve old information can be observed.

Patients can learn new procedural knowledge. In addition, priming (both perceptual and conceptual) can assist amnesiacs in the learning of fresh non-declarative knowledge. Amnesic patients also retain substantial intellectual, linguistic, and social skill despite profound impairments in the ability to recall specific information encountered in prior learning episodes. The term is from Ancient Greek, meaning 'forgetfulness'; from ἀ- (a-), meaning 'without', and μνήσις (mnesis), meaning 'memory'. Declarative memory can be broken down into semantic memory and episodic memory. Semantic memory being that of facts and episodic memory being that of memory related to events. While a patient with amnesia might have a loss of declarative memory, this loss might vary in severity as well as the declarative information that it affects may vary depending on many factors. For example, LSJ was a patient that had retrograde declarative memory loss as the result of bilateral medial temporal lobe damage, but she was still able to remember how to perform some declarative skills.

She was able to remember how to read music and the techniques used in art. She had preserved skill-related declarative memory for some things even though she had deficits in other declarative memory tasks. She even scored higher on skill-related declarative memory than the control in watercolor techniques, a technique that she used in her professional career before she acquired amnesia. There are three generalized categories in which amnesia could be acquired by a person. The three categories are head trauma (example: head injuries), traumatic events (example: seeing something devastating to the mind), or physical deficiencies (example: atrophy of the hippocampus).

The majority of amnesia and related memory issues derive from the first two categories as these are more common and the third could be considered a subcategory of the first. Head trauma is a very broad range as it deals with any kind of injury or active action toward the brain which might cause amnesia. Retrograde and anterograde amnesia is more often seen from events like this, an exact example of a cause of the two would be electroconvulsive therapy, which would cause both briefly for the receiving patient. Traumatic events are more subjective. What is traumatic is dependent on what the person finds to be traumatic.

Regardless, a traumatic event is an event where something so distressing occurs that the mind chooses to forget rather than deal with the stress. A common example of amnesia that is caused by traumatic events is dissociative amnesia, which occurs when the person forgets an event that has deeply disturbed them. An example would be a person forgetting a fatal and graphic car accident involving their loved ones. Physical deficiencies are different from head trauma because physical deficiencies lean more toward passive physical issues. Among specific causes of amnesia are the following: Electroconvulsive therapy in which seizures are electrically induced in patients for therapeutic effect can have acute effects including both retrograde and anterograde amnesia. Alcohol can both cause blackouts and have deleterious effects on memory formation.

Regards,

Ann Jose

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