While some individuals with anterograde amnesia will recover on their own or after a bit of treatment, some cases are irreversible. When anterograde amnesia is permanent, all that can be done for the patient and their family and friends is to teach them how to cope with this ailment. It can be very stressful for both the sufferers and their loved ones, and depending on the severity, this might be a lengthy and trying process.
When a person is afflicted with Anterograde Amnesia, they are still the same person, with the same intelligence,personality, and quirks. They can function in day to day life because they are capable, but they cannot hold a job because they simply cannot remember anything other than what is in their current attention.
Scientist have been able to pinpoint at least three parts of the brain that could be responsible for Anterograde Amnesia; damage to the hippocampus, the basal forebrain, and the diencephalon.
When to see a doctor
Anyone who experiences unexplained memory loss, head injury, confusion or disorientation requires immediate medical attention. A person with amnesia may not be able to identify his or her location or have the presence of mind to seek medical care. If someone you know has symptoms of amnesia, help the person get medical attention.
False recollections (confabulation), either completely invented or made up of genuine memories misplaced in time
Neurological problems such as uncoordinated movements, tremors or seizures
Confusion or disorientation
It is now becoming apparent that while anterograde amnesia devastates memory for facts or events, it may spare memory for skills or habits. Thus, an individual with amnesia can be taught a new skill, such as how to play a game or how to write backwards. The next day, the amnesic individual will claim to have no memory of the prior session, but when asked to try executing the skill, can often perform quite well - indicating that some memories have been formed. It is an important area of current research to document exactly which kinds of memory can be formed in amnesia, and how this may be used to help rehabilitate amnesic individuals.
Anterograde amnesia is a selective memory deficit, resulting from brain injury, in which the individual is severely impaired in learning new information.
Anterograde amnesia, the more common of the two, is associated with injury to the hippocampus. With it, you cannot convert new sensory information into long-term memories. For instance, alcohol-induced blackouts are a type of anterograde neurological amnesia. Drinking too much alcohol blocks the neural pathways in the brain from forming new memories while intoxicated. People experiencing a blackout may talk and interact normally, but the next morning all will be blank.
Patients with anterograde amnesia quite often show normal memory for events prior to the incident responsible for the memory deficit but have severely impaired ability to recall information about events occurring after the incident. Whereas with retrograde amnesia there is almost always a gradual restoration of most of the lost information, with anterograde amnesia there is quite often no such recovery and patients are left with a permanent and debilitating condition. The case which led to the discovery of the condition of anterograde amnesia is that of H.M. (Milner et al 1968).
Anterograde amnesia refers to loss of memory for events after an incident – often such cases are examples of what are known as pure amnesiacs. Therefore, a person can’t store new information in their short term memory.