Retrograde & Anterograde Amnesia by Holly Riggs
Why'd I Choose It & What Is It?
Retrograde amnesia (retrieval failure) is the name of the phenomenon when an individual loses all memories formed before a traumatic experience. For example, if one was to endure some sort of brain injury, they would forget all or most of their past memories.
However, anterograde amnesia is when an individual endures a traumatic experience or injury that makes them unable to form new memories afterwards (Just think Fifty First Dates).
The Brain Stuff Behind It All
What Parts of the Brain are Affected?
Anterograde amnesia usually happens when there is damage to the hippocampus or medial temporal lobe, but can even be drug induced, be a side affect of an emotional disorder, or be caused by lack of oxygen to the brain or seizures. New memories are unable to be saved to where the long term memories are because the connection between the hippocampus and cortex has been damaged. Anterograde patients usually lose their episodic memory and retain their semantic memories.
Research & Psychologist
An experiment was done in the 70's observing four amnesiac patients which had shown that those that suffer from retrograde amnesia were more able to recall old, far off memories, rather than memories that were close to their injury/trauma.
- Retrograde amnesia targets your most recent memories first
- Former musician Clive Wearing, 76, suffers from both anterograde and retrograde amnesia, causing his memories only to last from 7-30 seconds
- There's a severe version of anterograde amnesia caused by alcoholism called Korsakoff's Disease