The Stolen Memory: A Case of Transient Global Amnesia

Department of Neurosciences, Catholic University, Policlinico Universitario "A. Gemelli", L.go A. Giamelli, 8, 00168 Rome, Italy.
Biological psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 08/2009; 67(6):e31-2. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.05.028
Source: PubMed
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Available from: Giacomo Della Marca
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    ABSTRACT: Transient global amnesia (TGA) is a temporary memory loss characterized by an abrupt onset of antero-grade and retrograde amnesia, totally reversible. Since sleep plays a major role in memory consolidation, and in the storage of memory-related traces into the brain cortex, the aims of the present study were: (1) to evaluate changes in sleep macro-structure in TGA; (2) to assess modifications in sleep micro-structure in TGA, with particular reference to the arousal EEG and to cyclic alternating pattern (CAP); (3) to compare sleep parameters in TGA patients with a control group of patients with acute ischemic events ("minor stroke" or transient ischemic attack [TIA]) clinically and neuroradiologically "similar" to the TGA. TGA GROUP: 17 patients, (8 men and 9 women, 60.2 ± 12.5 years). Stroke or TIA (SoT) group: 17 patients hospitalized in the Stroke Unit for recent onset of minor stroke or TIA with hemispheric localization; healthy controls (HC) group: 17 healthy volunteers, matched for age and sex. Patients and controls underwent full-night polysomnography. In the multivariate analysis (conditions TGA, SoT, and HC) a significant effect of the condition was observed for sleep efficiency index, number of awakenings longer 1 min, REM latency, CAP time, and CAP rate. TGA and SoT differed only for CAP time and CAP rate, which were lower in the TGA group. MICROSTRUCTURAL MODIFICATION ASSOCIATED WITH TGA COULD BE CONSEQUENT TO: (1) hippocampal dysfunction and memory impairment; (2) impairment of arousal-related structures (in particular, cholinergic pathways); (3) emotional distress. Della Marca G; Mazza M; Losurdo A; Testani E; Broccolini A; Frisullo G; Marano G; Morosetti R; Pilato F; Profice P; Vollono C; Di Lazzaro V. Sleep modifications in acute transient global amnesia. J Clin Sleep Med 2013;9(9):921-927.
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    ABSTRACT: Transient global amnesia is a benign syndrome and one of the most frequent discharges from the emergency department that can hardly be distinguished from other mimicking diseases. No consensus in the evaluation of transient global amnesia has yet been found in the emergency setting. We describe a 69-year-old woman who presented to our emergency department with an abrupt onset of anterograde amnesia, preceded by a similar amnesic episode misinterpreted as transient global amnesia. Neuroradiologic, neuropsychological, and neurophysiological evaluations supported the diagnosis of vascular thalamic amnesia. We report a patient who clinically fulfilled transient global amnesia's criteria and in whom nevertheless was disclosed a thalamic ischemic lesion on neuroimaging.This case report highlights the importance of performing neuroradiologic screening in the emergency department even when clinical history and physical findings are highly suggestive for transient global amnesia.
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