A word of comfort to anybody who has ever forgotten something or someone they wish they could remember: Even though the memory is buried from your conscious mind, it is not always lost. Brain imaging found patterns of activity in a study of college students that linked to memories the individuals felt they'd lost. The researchers said their findings suggest there may be a way to stimulate brain cells that control memory to help patients with amnesia.
People who have forgotten an important event sometimes wonder if it would have been better if they knew about it when it happened instead of forgetting it. It's natural to want to know what has happened since we last heard from someone - especially if that person is family or friend. However, knowing and remembering are two different things. Only some thoughts make it to consciousness; others remain unconscious, hidden from view. So unless somebody tells you what they think about you, you can't know for sure whether they're thinking about you or not.
Sometimes people forget things because they choose not to remember them. This is called "memory suppression." If you do something shameful or wrong, you should remember it so you don't repeat the action. But if you constantly remember your mistakes and failures, you'll never progress as a person.
Children who forget things too often may have a medical condition called "amnestic syndrome," which means their brains aren't functioning properly.
According to recent study from the University of California, Irvine, while certain memories may be unavailable to you, they are not fully lost and might potentially be restored. If you've ever forgotten anything and thought you'd lost it forever, don't worry—still it's stored in your brain. It's just inaccessible right now.
Our brains perform a function called "neurogenesis" which is the generation of new neurons. This process starts soon after our birth with the creation of neural stem cells which can divide without limit to form more neural stem cells or turn into other types of cells such as skin or muscle cells. Once created, these cells stay in our body forever or until they die.
We have two kinds of memories: explicit and implicit. Explicit memories are those that we remember because they're hard to forget such as what happened yesterday or where we put our keys. Implicit memories are those that we automatically do without thinking about them such as how to walk or talk. Neural networks in our brains connect different areas through synapses to create memories. When you learn something new, your brain creates a network connection between the area of your brain that processes information and the section of your brain that stores this information.
This means that if you know what happened, you can see things that others didn't notice or wouldn't have been able to explain.
Most persons with amnesia have short-term memory issues, meaning they can't remember new knowledge. Recent memories are more likely to be lost, although more distant or firmly established memories may be preserved. Many persons with amnesia report having dreams, but these often involve traumatic events that cause them to wake up frightened.
After an episode of severe amnesia, some patients may show spontaneous recovery of memory functions. This may occur even if the patient does not realize what has happened to him or her. After such a recovery period, these individuals would then be able to tell us about recent events that had occurred before their injury. However, overall cognitive function will generally be lower than it was before the accident. Spontaneous recovery is very rare and unlikely to improve memory beyond what could be expected given the patient's age and other medical conditions.
After an episode of moderate amnesia, some patients may be able to learn new information and recall old memories, but they will lack identity or continuity of self-awareness. These persons would also be unable to describe their experience. They could identify friends and family members, but not themselves. In this case, rehabilitation therapy should be initiated as soon as possible after the injury.
Memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease is irreversible.