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Why do some brain injuries cause amnesia?

Amnesia occurs when a person's memories are affected. This is often caused by a brain injury. Living with amnesia can have a profound effect on the patient's life. In some cases, the patient will have to undergo a variety of medical treatments to learn to live with amnestic syndrome, which is the formal name for amnesia.

What causes amnesia?

Amnesia occurs when brain damage occurs to areas of the brain that are used for memory processing. Many people who are suffering from amnesia will have short-term memory issues instead of the long-term memory issues that are commonly portrayed in the movies.

What are the two types of amnestic syndrome?

A person can suffer from retrograde amnesia or anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is a type of amnesia that affects the person's ability to remember familiar information and past memories. Anterograde amnesia affects that ability of the patient to learn new things.

Are all cases of memory loss caused by amnesia?

Some cases of memory loss aren't caused by amnesia. Those are caused by other medical conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Oftentimes, these types of memory loss have other symptoms that occur, and they are usually associated with elderly patients.

The treatment plan for amnesia can include occupational therapy and certain aides that can help them with memory. A person with amnesia might find certain aspects of normal life, such as employment, difficult or impossible. If a person suffers an amnesia-causing brain injury in an accident that was due to the negligence of another party, that person might decide to seek compensation for his or her injury.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Amnesia," accessed Sep. 19, 2015

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