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Amnesia Due to Trauma- Chelsea Fleming & Chelsea Culbreth

Why We Chose This Topic

We chose this topic because we were interested in learning how an injury can cause you to lose your memory. This research can help us figure out why and how people lose their memories and become forgetful due to traumatic events. By understanding this topic it can help others to understand the reasons why people who have experienced memory loss due to trauma behave the way they do.

What is it?

Amnesia due to trauma is caused by traumatic brain injuries from things such as hitting your head. There are different types of amnesia due to traumatic injuries. For instance, there is a type called post-traumatic amnesia that occurs when someone experiences an injury, effecting the person shortly after by creating memory loss. They tend to forget basic information about themselves and others because they are confused as to what happened.

The Brain

When the brain is injured and experiences memory loss, the main parts that are effected are the frontal or anterior temporal regions. The hippocampus is the organ that is responsible for creating memories and whenever the brain experiences amnesia due to trauma it is clear from evidence in the hippocampus because it shows the reduction of the volume of it.

Experiments/Research from Psychologists

A 27 year old man named Henry Molaison, had a brain surgery that removed both of his hippocampi on both sides of his brain in order to reduce the number of seizures he was having. However, it had not yet been discovered that the hippocampus is the organ responsible for creating memories. Because of the doctors removed his hippocampi, he was no longer to remember anything that happened to him after the age of 16 nor was he able to create any more memories or obtain new information. After this operation two neuropsychologists, Dr. Wilder Penfield and Dr. Brenda Milner, conducted memory experiments on Henry to observe the effects he had after the surgery. They discovered that because of the removal of his hippocampi, he has suffered from a retrograde memory loss. This is a loss of memories due to brain damage. He lost lost a total of 11 years after his operation. Scientists have concluded that without the hippocampus the brain is not able to create and obtain memories.

Interesting Fact

After experiencing amnesia due to trauma, the recovery process takes a long time. However, once a person starts to recover they begin to slowly remember information and memories for brief periods of time; this is called memory islands.
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Henry Molaison

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Henry Molaison's Brain Difference

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