Anterograde amnesia


At a anterograde amnesia the patient suffers from one Memory impairmentwhere the Retention for new content solid limited is.

Memories that after the start of the triggering event can lie cannot be saved and are lost again after a short time. Anterograd means directed forward; here in relation to the temporal dimension. There is anterograde amnesia more often than the retrograde form and has severe everyday restrictions for the person concerned.


The causes of anterograde amnesia are numerous. The type and extent of amnesia can vary greatly depending on the trigger. Anterograde amnesia can occur with a concussion or an epileptic seizure, but this is usually temporary. Poisoning with a neurotoxic (= toxic for nerve cells) substance also has this effect. Amnesia that gets worse over time is called progressive amnesia. A classic example of this is amnesia in dementia, e.g. in Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease or Pick's disease. Head injuries, strokes or cerebral haemorrhage can also lead to amnesia. The same is true for tumors in the brain.

Meningitis is a less common cause of amnesia. Metabolic diseases and malnutrition can also cause amnesia. This also applies to medication and alcohol. Here, memory loss is usually desirable and only temporarily. However, regular consumption of alcohol can also lead to what is known as Korsakoff's syndrome. In addition to organic causes, there are also psychogenic factors that lead to amnesia.

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Symptoms of epilepsy

Anterograde amnesia due to Dormicum® / midazolam

Midazolam is a drug from the group of Benzodiazepines. It is under the name Dormicum® sold. It happens after taking medication briefly to a anterograde amnesia. The memory for new events is significantly reduced. The drug also works anxiety-relieving. You make these effects yourself before operations advantage. Also in the Emergency u. Intensive care the drug is used. Here it is given via a permanent infusion Sedation (Reassurance) used, e.g. as part of a Short anesthesia.

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  • Side effects and risks of anesthesia
  • Types of anesthesia - Which are there??

Diagnosis of anterograde amnesia

The diagnosis anterograde amnesia can occur during the Patient interview (anamnesis) be asked. To more precise differentiation can clinical tests to evaluate the Long-term memory be performed.

The next step must be extensive diagnostics after the Cause of the amnesia to be researched. There is one for that Cross-sectional imaging of the brain essential. This can be done using CT or MRIInvestigation to be made. Also a EEG to Assessment of brain waves can be meaningful. Is there any suspicion of a Hinflammation of the skin blood and nerve water (liquor) must be examined as the cause of the amnesia.

  • CSF examination
  • Signs of meningitis

Concomitant symptoms

The leading symptom of anterograde amnesia is the loss of memory for new content. Events that are experienced cannot be stored in long-term memory and are lost again after a short time.

In addition to this loss of memory, disorientation can occur. Confusion with perceptual disorders, loss of performance and concentration disorders also occur as a concomitant phenomenon. In addition, the cause of the amnesia is crucial when it comes to the question of accompanying symptoms.

In the event of a traumatic brain injury, the nerve cells in the brain are reversibly or irreversibly damaged by the force of force. Then severe headaches as well as nausea and vomiting are typical accompanying symptoms. In the event of a stroke or cerebral hemorrhage, neurological deficits can also occur. This is understood to mean functional disorders such as muscle paralysis, sensory, language and visual disorders. This depends on which areas of the brain are affected by the damage.

Read more about this under Memory loss., Korsakoff syndrome

Retrograde amnesia

In retrograde amnesia, there is a memory loss related to a previous event. The affected person has no memory of things that happened before the triggering event. However, the memory gap is usually relatively small, i.e. it is only about the short period immediately before the triggering event. Events further back are often well remembered. There is also no relationship between the extent of the brain damage and the duration of the memory loss.

Various factors are known to trigger retrograde amnesia. This is often the case after a head trauma. The person concerned does not remember what happened in the accident. Psychogenic triggers are also possible. Memory loss occurs after a traumatic life event. The experience cannot be remembered. Retrograde amnesias have also occurred in the course of neurosurgical interventions. This can also be the case after electroconvulsive therapy. Most of the time, retrograde amnesia is a short-term condition; long-term memory in relation to future memory is mostly unaffected.

Read more about this: Retrograde amnesia

Transient global amnesia

Transient global amnesia is a retro and anterograde memory disorder that usually lasts for less than 24 hours.

Read more on the topic: Transient global amnesia

Therapy and Treatment

To a anterograde amnesia To treat one must first determine which Cause of amnesia underlying. Primary treatment goal it should therefore be the Treat underlying disease.

Is there a meningitis (Meningitis) will be the Fight pathogens with drugs. are Tumors or Cerebral hemorrhage responsible for the amnesia must first be a discharge for the compressed nerve tissue be created by the tumor or the Blood accumulation removed become.

Is a dementia the cause of the amnesia are Treatment options limited. There are drugs you can try that To prevent disease progression. Of the success however is often moderate. A cure is not possible.

After a stroke can certain functions again improve by Memory training. This tries to activate other areas in the brain in order to do so Functional failure better compensate to be able to. However, if there is extensive death of nerve cells, the amnesia is often permanent. There is then no cure.

  • Therapy of meningitis
  • Therapy for dementia
  • Stroke therapy


How long amnesia is from the Cause of memory loss dependent. After a mild craniocerebral trauma Amnesia only exists with a little luck temporarily.

Is there a Dementia as the cause Underlying for the memory loss, the symptomatology becomes tend to worsen over time. At a meningitis (Meningitis), the pathogens are usually treated with drugs, which is why Amnesia often diminishes. Even after Strokes can not irreversible damaged brain areas in the brain activated again become. This partially leads to a significant improvement in functionality.