retrograde amnesia


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Related to retrograde amnesia: anterograde amnesia

amnesia

 [am-ne´zhah]
pathologic impairment of memory. Amnesia is usually the result of physical damage to areas of the brain from injury, disease, or alcoholism. Psychologic factors may also cause amnesia; a shocking or unacceptable situation may be too painful to remember, and the situation is then retained only in the subconscious mind. The technical term for this is repression. (See also dissociative disorders.)

Rarely is the memory completely obliterated. When amnesia results from a single physical or psychologic incident, such as a concussion suffered in an accident or a severe emotional shock, the victim may forget only the incident itself; the victim may be unable to recall events occurring before or after the incident or the order of events may be confused, with recent events imputed to the past and past events to recent times. In another form, only certain isolated events are lost to memory.

Amnesia victims usually have a good chance of recovery if there is no irreparable brain damage. The recovery is often gradual, the memory slowly reclaiming isolated events while others are still missing. Psychotherapy may be necessary when the amnesia is due to a psychologic reaction.
anterograde amnesia impairment of memory for events occurring after the onset of amnesia. Unlike retrograde amnesia, it is the inability to form new memories.
circumscribed amnesia loss of memory for all events during a discrete, specific period of time. Called also localized amnesia.
continuous amnesia loss of memory for all events after a certain time, continuing up to and including the present.
dissociative amnesia the most common of the dissociative disorders; it is usually a response to some stress, such as a threat of injury, an unacceptable impulse, or an intolerable situation. The patient suddenly cannot recall important personal information and may wander about without purpose and in a confused state.

Persons with a dissociative disorder may at times forget what they are doing or where they are; when they regain self-awareness, they cannot recall what has taken place. A less severe form than amnesia is sleepwalking. Dissociative disorders are very likely an attempt by the mind to shield itself from the anxiety caused by an unresolved conflict. The patient, upon encountering a situation that may be symbolic of this inner conflict, goes into a form of trance to avoid experiencing the conflict.
generalized amnesia loss of memory encompassing the individual's entire life.
lacunar amnesia partial loss of memory; amnesia for certain isolated experiences.
post-traumatic amnesia amnesia resulting from concussion or other head trauma. Called also traumatic amnesia. See also amnestic syndrome.
psychogenic amnesia dissociative amnesia.
retrograde amnesia inability to recall events that occurred prior to the episode precipitating the disorder. Unlike anterograde amnesia, it is the loss of memories of past events.
selective amnesia loss of memory for a group of related events but not for other events occurring during the same period of time.
transient global amnesia a temporary episode of short-term memory loss without other neurological impairment.
traumatic amnesia post-traumatic amnesia.

ret·ro·grade am·ne·si·a

amnesia in reference to events that occurred before the trauma or disease that caused the condition.

retrograde amnesia

the loss of memory for events occurring before a particular time in a person's life, usually before the event that precipitated the amnesia. The condition may result from disease, brain injury or damage, or a traumatic emotional incident. Compare anterograde amnesia.

retrograde amnesia

Neurology Amnesia that extends to before the trauma or events that caused the loss of memory. See Amnesia. Cf Anterograde amnesia.

ret·ro·grade am·ne·si·a

(ret'rō-grād am-nē'zē-ă)
Lack of memory about events that occurred before the trauma or disease (e.g., cerebral concussion) that caused the condition.

retrograde amnesia

Loss of memory for a period before the time of a head injury. In general, the more severe the injury and the longer the period of loss of memory after the injury, the longer will be the retrograde amnesia.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sackeim and his colleagues also found more severe and persistent (that is, detectable at 6 months) retrograde amnesia for autobiographical events with bilateral ECT, compared with right unilateral ECT.
Executive producer Peter Traugott had a friend who suffered from retrograde amnesia.
In reality, such dense, persistent retrograde amnesias following psychological trauma are sufficiently rare that skepticism about any newly reported case is bound to occur.
It can be associated with retrograde amnesia and typically occurs without any focal neurologic deficit.
Post-traumatic amnesia occurs in the temporary period immediately after the accident, while retrograde amnesia describes a period during which a person cannot remember events and information for a time immediately before and after the accident.
Christina Applegate headlines this US sitcom playing the titular vice-president of a real estate firm, who is involved in a hit and run accident and suffers retrograde amnesia.
Doctors were initially baffled as to what caused the condition, retrograde amnesia, but eventually blamed it on a huge cyst on his brain.
Filmmaker Murray counted Bruce as one of his best mates before this onset of retrograde amnesia, a memory loss that wipes clean a person's history but not his acquired skills.
It tells the tale of a woman, played by the gorgeous Christina Applegate, who wakes from a coma with retrograde amnesia, which leaves her with no personal memories of her past.
MY dear friend Rex Makin accuses me of having retrograde amnesia and reminds me of my demand that the Summer Pops should be scrapped unless it can pay for itself, a demand that I have made consistently for years.
But retrograde amnesia can be much more persistent and even permanent.
They diagnosed retrograde amnesia, which is the loss of memory of events before the accident.