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
DEC 31, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 31, 2019
There's More to a Cat's Whiskers Than You Think
Cats may be enjoyable pets, but their true roots go back to incredibly predacious creatures with bodies that have been evolutionarily adapted for hunting p...
JAN 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 05, 2020
It's Finally the Year of the Mars 2020 Mission
It’s officially 2020, and with that in mind, anyone paying attention to NASA’s launch schedule should know already that the Mars 2020 rover is...
JAN 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 15, 2020
The "Normal" Body Temperature Has Decreased
Did you know that the standard human body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit was established in 1868? A few modern studies have called this figure into...
JAN 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 21, 2020
Scientists Assess GHG Emissions Related to Palm Oil Land Conversion
Palm oil production remains problematic in several ways, and a new study from researchers at the University of Nottingham has quantified one of these probl...
JAN 23, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 23, 2020
Yes, Stress Can Turn Your Hair Gray
Stress and gray hair have always been closely associated, and now, scientists from Harvard have discovered the physiological mechanism that validates this...
JAN 25, 2020
Neuroscience
JAN 25, 2020
Are You Still Working on Your New Year's Resolution?
There are a few cardinal rules when it comes to goal-setting, and you've probably heard them all before. Goals will be successful if they are specific-...
Loading Comments...