Memory Loss

August 27, 2010

What is Memory Loss?
Memory loss is unusual forgetfulness that can be caused by brain damage due to disease or injury, or it can be caused by severe emotional trauma.

Possible Causes of Memory Loss:

  • Aging
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Other forms of dementia
  • Neurodegenerative illness
  • Depression
  • Head trauma or injury
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Hysteria often accompanied by confusion
  • Stress
  • Seizures
  • General anesthetics such as halothane, isoflurane, and fentanyl
  • Alcoholism
  • Transient global amnesia
  • Drugs such as barbiturates or benzodiazepines
  • Electroconvulsive or electroshock therapy (especially if prolonged)
  • Temporal lobe brain surgery
  • Brain masses (caused by tumors or infection)
  • Herpes encephalitis
  • Other brain infections

What is considered “normal” memory loss?
There is a difference between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Occasionally forgetting names or appointments as you age can be a sign of memory loss, but because it happens occasionally, it does not necessarily point to Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s tend to forget recently learned information and forget things more often than others as they age. Alzheimer’s is progressive, meaning that the disease gets worse over time. If you have any concerns about your memory, you should speak to your doctor immediately.


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