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The Temporary Memory Lapse of Transient Global Amnesia (nytimes.com)
33 points by danso 27 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments

This happened to a friend of mine. He was just sitting on his recliner watching sports and poof. Boy did he get angry while experiencing the TGA symptoms. All of us were really concerned for his wife, who suddenly had this person without a "normal" working memory to care for. Fortunately the episode was really short, even if it did involve a long ambulance ride and a stay at the hospital.

Given the circumstances, mostly the timing of the events and the external pressures on him to address some big stressors on a given schedule, I guessed that stress was a key contributor in his case. Doctors seemed to want my friend to focus on that aspect.

This particular friend tends to keep things bottled up, and then grows more emotional as events arrive and progress. It's hard to watch, and I've tried to approach the _topic_ of approaching it with him, with little luck. But it has been a good lesson to me: Even if you think you are OK and life is great, continue venting information about stressors regularly. Personally I regularly word-dump into a journal or into my phone for health purposes. My journaling template[0] has evolved a lot over the years and it's still one of my top tools for moderating stress. The stress will always be there, but it seems that, perhaps depending on circumstances and individual psychology, one can do _enough_ of this kind of work to avoid some major stress-related health issues.

[0]: https://pastebin.com/YmjnhaXp

As a neuroradiologist, I see these cases occasionally. People presenting with TGA sometimes have small infarcts in their hippocampus.

An example paper you can read if you are curious:


Something like this happened to me. My wife and I were in a serious car crash; we were almost entirely uninjured, but I apparently lost the ability to form new memories for several hours. I also temporarily forgot some older memories and permanently forgot almost everything that happened over the past 36-ish hours. The doctors checked me VERY carefully for brain injury, including a CAT scan (so I'm told!) but couldn't find anything, not even a surface bruise. Professionals I have met over the years have hypothesized either a psychological effect due to shock or some minor, hard-to-detect internal brain damage just from it sloshing around inside my skull.

The most interesting part, for me, was that while I was in hospital I was visited by a guy I'd met for the first time the previous day, during the lost 36 hours. I instantly remembered his name but was also quite sure I'd never seen him before. That was weird.

If anyone has any questions about Transient Epileptic Amnesia I'm happy to share my first-hand experience with it. It's very similar to TGA (was actually diagnosed with TGA first) though there are some subtle differences: environmental memories tend to lapse, brief unresponsiveness, some form of recall is possible, hallucinations are common, and the duration is typically much shorter.

Happened to my mother after a hot bath. GP knew the score and so I took care of the for the few hours that it lasted. It was quite endearing in the end with her having no idea how she got to be where she was and every couple of minutes expressing her concern about and questions about it.

Huh, my first thought was TGA while peaking on LSD. Or after too much alcohol.

But then I thought about zolpidem, which I take every day. I've pretty much gotten used to the idea that I won't remember much of anything after it takes effect, until it wears off, perhaps four hours later.

I always lock computer screens, before taking it.

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