OCT 07, 2016 2:38 PM PDT

Amnesia: How Memories Get Lost

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Even as it's protected inside a thick skull, the brain remains a fragile organ. When we bump our heads or otherwise sustain a moderate to severe head injury, the brain gets sloshed inside the skull. This "sloshing" motion is the brain being banged and bruised against the skull, which could lead to a concussion if the trauma force is great enough.

In some cases, the concussion leads to amnesia - the inability to recall memories. Scientists think that as the brain gets jostled in the skull, fragile neuronal connections can get damaged. And this can extend to other regions beyond where the brain sustained the trauma. The trauma also triggers a shift in chemical responses, namely the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which affects attention and motivation. Combined, researchers think the damaged neurons and the chemical imbalance contribute to memory loss following a concussion.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
SEP 10, 2020
Scientists Document Swimming Styles of Sea Butterflies
Snails, marine and terrestrial, are likely primarily imagined to be attached to a substrate. However, under the waves, t ...
SEP 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
SEP 17, 2020
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
Scientists have confirmed that the sun is nine months into a new solar cycle, and that this 11-year cycle will resemble ...
SEP 24, 2020
Health & Medicine
Extreme Isolation can Cause Physical Brain Changes
SEP 24, 2020
Extreme Isolation can Cause Physical Brain Changes
By this point in the year, you’ve either heard or uttered the phrase “quarantine brain.” While the act ...
OCT 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Discovery of Phosphine on Venus - What Does It Mean?
OCT 07, 2020
Discovery of Phosphine on Venus - What Does It Mean?
A Nature Astronomy paper in September, titled "Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus", has led t ...
DEC 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
DEC 12, 2020
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
Astronomers from Serbia have found that invisible structures created by gravitational interaction in our Solar System ge ...
DEC 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why is the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Hotter than its Surface?
DEC 29, 2020
Why is the Sun's Outer Atmosphere Hotter than its Surface?
The fact that the Sun's distant atmosphere is significantly hotter than its surface has been a topic of confusion in ...
Loading Comments...