Age Matters Clinic


Toronto Geriatric Assessment and Memory Clinic

What is Anterograde Amnesia?

As much as we know about he human brain, it is still very much of a mystery. One of the enduring mysteries is how memories are formed and why certain injuries cause either short-term or long-term memory loss. Researchers have pinned down the areas of the brain where memories are stored, but they have much to learn about why certain memories survive, while others can be obliterated.

Anterograde amnesia is the loss of the ability to create new memories after a traumatizing event. Not much is known about it other than the fact that it affects the temporal cortex of the brain, specifically the hippocampus and subcortical regions. Generally, an individual experiencing anterograde amnesia may have a significant amount of childhood memories intact, but will lose everything prior to the brain injury occurring. Some skills and habits seem to be spared, but all short term memory tends to be lost.

There are many myths about anterograde amnesia, including instances where an adult will one day wake up believing he or she is back in childhood. Those circumstances are likely to be untrue if there is no significant injury that lead to the event. Anterograde amnesia can occur when a person is felled by a stroke or aneurysm, epileptic seizure, carbon monoxide poisoning or a near drowning experience. It is also likely to occur during the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Amnesia has been dramatized in many popular books and movies, but there is very little that is known about what causes it. Individuals and family members dealing with amnesia and other memory-related disorders need strong support systems to deal with the consequences. Age Matters memory and aging clinic in Toronto is well-equipped to deal with symptoms of memory loss and dementia, including anterograde and other forms of amnesia.

To find out more about what we can do to help, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (647) 268-0620.