Memory loss can be debilitating for many individuals who are trying to survive their daily lives. Memory loss is experienced by essentially all individuals, usually on a smaller scale i.e. forgetting keys or to lock the door. But, for some individuals days, weeks, and years may be lost, or new memories may not be possible to form. Memory loss can occur due to many reasons, for example trauma, stress, psychological/neurological disorders, infection and disease. There are different names for specific types of memory loss, an example is Amnesia.
There exists multiple types of Amnesia, but the two main types are retrograde and anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is a loss of access to memory that was formed before the onset of the cause of memory loss, which as stated before can be injury or disease. Retrograde amnesia affects not just past events but also information that was learned, such as how to cook a specific meal. With retrograde amnesia the patient can still form new memories, so through time a higher chance of a stable life can be obtained after the incident has occurred. Anterograde amnesia, in contrast to retrograde amnesia, affects the ability to form new memories after the memory loss causing incident. This can be debilitating to those who seek to continue a normal life because, the extent of the short term memory will determine if they can remember to complete even the simplest daily tasks.
What causes memory loss is an ongoing study for researchers; researches have focused on two primary structures the amygdala and the Hippocampus. Even though research focuses on these two structures, there are more structures and pathways involved, and everyday research is advancing to allow us to gain more insight on this debilitating occurrence. The Hippocampus which also plays a role in mood and cognition allows researchers to find a link between depression (emotion) and memory loss. As stated before psychological disorders can be shown to affect memory, this research on the hippocampus can provide the link between emotion and memory. The Amygdala is shown to have a pivotal role in remembering emotionally significant experiences. Thus when severe stress occurs the amygdala’s ability to efficiently encode emotional memories is affected. With constant stress overtime the cognitive performance of an individual will be greatly affected! Stay tuned for the next post to gain more insight specifically on how emotions affect memory and its relation to the amygdala and Hippocampus.