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Understanding Transient Global Amnesia


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Transient Global Amnesia or TGA is a type of amnesia that involves the sudden and temporary loss of memory of an otherwise healthy individual. When a person suffers from Transient Amnesia, they cannot remember recent incidents and aren’t able to retain any new verbal or visual information either.

Fortunately however, patients generally retain distant as well as immediate memories prior to the occurrence of the amnesia. At the time of TGA, although patients tend to feel confused about their surroundings and the people around them, they are usually clear about their own identities.

During the period of transient amnesia, the patient incessantly asks questions about transpiring events. Common questions asked by transient amnesia patients include, where they are, what is happening around them, who is with them, etc. And even when the questions are answered, they forget what they are told almost immediately and ask the same question again. The period of transient amnesia is different for different people and may last for anywhere from one hour to twenty four hours.

Who is affected by Transient Global Amnesia?

Although there is no inherited or race condition connected to transient amnesia, studies have shown that men are more likely to suffer this form of amnesia as compared to women. TGA affects about 3.4 to 5.2 people for every 100,000, each year in the United States. However, this same ratio rises to 23.5 per 100,000 per year for those older than 50 years of age.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Transient Global Amnesia?

The exact cause for TGA remains a matter of debate between experts. One of the most widely accepted reasons for transient amnesia is external emotional stress. Examples of such external stresses are *** intercourse, high anxiety levels, immersion in cold water or rigorous physical exertion. It may also be caused due to a transient ischemic attack or a “mini-stroke” which itself is triggered by a temporary interruption of the flow of blood to the brain. TGA may also be caused by a basilar artillery migraine which in turn is a result of abnormal dilation and constriction of vessel walls.

Treatment for Transient Global Amnesia

If a loved one is diagnosed with TGA, after having ruled out trauma caused to the brain due to some accident, stroke or disease, there’s little else you can do except fix a follow-up appointment with the neurologist. It is also pertinent that activities which create high external emotional stress are avoided at all cost so as to minimize the chance of an attack for the patient.

Apart from all this, the prognosis for TGA is in fact quite positive. This is because the duration of the attacks is for a relatively short period of time and also the effects of transient amnesia are never permanent. However, one must remember that the loss of memory can be a frightening experience for anyone, which is why it’s important for the family of the affected to be especially affectionate, understanding and patient during the period of transient amnesia.

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