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What is amnestic syndrome?

A catastrophic head injury in Louisiana may result in amnestic syndrome. You may recognize amnestic syndrome by its more commonly known name of amnesia. According to the Mayo Clinic, amnestic syndrome stems from damage to the areas of the brain that process memory. This damage can result from catastrophic injury such as severe trauma. Other possible causes include seizures, strokes, inflammation of the brain, tumors, degenerative neurologic conditions and alcohol or drug use. Amnestic syndrome can also result from psychological trauma. The term for this is dissociative amnesia, and it is one of the rare instances in which a sufferer may lose autobiographical information or personal memories, although this is usually temporary. 

Amnestic syndrome can be retrograde, meaning that it interferes with recollections of the past, or it can be anterograde, meaning that it is more difficult for the individual to form new memories or learn new things. The damage to the brain that can cause memory loss can also contribute to disorientation or confusion. Another possible symptom of amnestic syndrome is confabulation, which consists of memories that are either completely invented and false or else genuine memories that have become distorted into inaccuracy. 

Though a common trope in fiction, it is actually extremely rare for someone with amnestic syndrome to forget details about his or her own background and identity. In fact, the opposite is more often true. For example, if you have amnestic syndrome, the older and more deeply ingrained your memories are, the more likely you are to retain them. It is your more recent memories, i.e., what you had for breakfast or where you went last week, that you are most likely to lose. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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