Memory loss, amnesia: what is this, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Memory loss; Forgetfulness; Amnesia; Impaired memory; Loss of memory; Amnestic syndrome; Dementia – memory loss; Mild cognitive impairment – memory loss

Amnesia – it's a memory disorder, which can be caused by various reasons, including lack of oxygen, head injury, illness or infection. Depending on the type of amnesia, the infringement may be limited to certain periods of time or specific types of information, eg, spoken or written.

In severe cases, these memory impairments can interfere with daily activities..

The causes of amnesia

Aging can cause some forgetfulness. If you are having trouble learning new material or need more time, to remember it, this is normal. But aging does not lead to sudden memory loss.. This memory loss is associated with other diseases..

Memory loss can be caused by many reasons.. To determine the cause, the attending physician will ask, whether the problem started suddenly or gradually.

Many areas of the brain help store and retrieve memories. Problems in any of these areas can lead to memory loss..

Memory loss could be the result of new brain damage, which can be caused by the following reasons:

  • Encephaloma
  • Cancer Treatment, such as brain radiation , bone marrow transplant or chemotherapy.
  • Concussion or head injury
  • Insufficient amount of oxygen, entering the brain, when the heart or breathing stops for too long
  • Severe brain infection
  • Major surgery or serious illness, including brain surgery.
  • Transient global amnesia (sudden temporary memory loss) unclear reason
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke
  • Gidrocefaliя (accumulation of fluid in the brain)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Imbecility

Sometimes memory loss occurs with mental health problems, such as:

  • After a serious, traumatic or stressful event
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression or other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia

Memory loss may be a sign of dementia . Dementia also affects thinking, speech, judgment and behavior. Common types of dementia, associated with memory loss:

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Sosudistaya dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy telytsami
  • Skull-visochnaya dementia
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Other causes of memory loss include:

  • Alcohol or use of prescription or illegal drugs
  • brain infections, such as Lyme disease , syphilis or HIV/AIDS.
  • Drug abuse, such as barbiturates or ( hypnotics )
  • MFA (electroconvulsive therapy) (most commonly causes short-term memory loss)
  • Epilepsy, poorly controlled
  • Disease, which results in the loss or damage of brain tissue or nerve cells, eg, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease or multiple sclerosis.
  • Low levels of important nutrients or vitamins, such as low levels of vitamin B1 or B12

Home care for amnesia

A person with memory loss needs support.

Need to show a person with amnesia familiar objects, photos or turn on familiar music.

write down, when the person has to take any medications or perform other important tasks.

If the person needs help with daily activities or if safety or nutrition is a concern, you may consider additional assistance, eg, caregiver or nursing home.

What to Expect When Visiting a Doctor

The health worker will perform a physical exam and ask about the patient's medical history and symptoms. This usually includes questions from family members and friends.. For this reason, they may be interviewed in person or by telephone..

Medical history questions may include:

  • Type of memory loss, such as short term or long term
  • time pattern, eg, how long does memory loss last or does it come and go
  • Events, that caused memory loss, such as a head injury or surgery

Tests, which can be fulfilled, include:

  • Blood tests for specific diseases, who are suspected (eg, low vitamin B12 or thyroid disease)
  • Cerebral angiography
  • Cognitive tests (neuropsychological/psychometric tests)
  • CT or MRI of the head
  • EEG
  • Poyasnichnaya puncture

Treatment depends on the cause of the memory loss.. In some cases, the cause can be eliminated, which allows you to restore or improve memory. For Example, if memory impairment is caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, then vitamin B12 supplementation therapy may be prescribed.

In other cases, when the cause cannot be eliminated, you can use various methods to compensate or restore memory. For Example, memory techniques can be used, such as studying the material in several stages, creating links between new information and already known, or using cards or charts to organize information. Memory therapy may also be used, which may include various techniques, such as cognitive and emotional regulatory strategies, which help to improve the memorization and retrieval of information. Physical activity can also be used, which has been proven, what helps improve memory.

It is important to note, that treating memory loss can be a long and complicated process, and that results may vary from person to person. If you have memory problems, important to see your doctor, to determine the cause and choose the most effective treatment.

Used literature and sources

Kirshner HS, You are Gifford. Intellectual and memory impairments. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 7.

Mr. F. Disturbance of memory. In: Mr. F, ed. Sims’ Symptoms in the Mind: Textbook of Descriptive Psychopathology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 5.

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