A unique case of a Briton man who bears striking similarity to the memory loss presented in movies like "Groundhog Day" and "Memento" was reported recently by psychologists from University of Leicester. The 38-year-old man had suffered memory loss after having undergone a root-canal treatment under local anesthesia. For the past decade, he remembers only up to 90 minutes and awakes every morning thinking that it is the same day and visits the dentist.
"One of the reasons to note this particular case was that we had never seen anything like this before in our assessment clinics, and we do not know what to make of it," said Dr. Gerald Burgess, lecturer in clinical psychology at University of Leicester.
AdvertisementThere is no evidence that the treatment at the dentist can be blamed for his condition, said the psychologists who described the study in the journal Neurocase.
The work by Dr. Burgess was done in collaboration with Bhanu Chadalavada, consultant psychiatrist at Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust, Northampton. He is now appealing to people who know of someone who might have suffered similar symptoms of memory loss, or medical or allied health professionals working with someone like this, to contact him in order to build up knowledge and evidence in this field.
Dr. Burgess was working as a clinical psychologist a decade ago when the patient was referred to him. "Our experience was that none of our colleagues in neurology, psychiatry, and clinical neuropsychology could explain this case, or had seen anything like this themselves before," he said.
Since the one-hour root-canal treatment, during which he was given a local anesthetic, the individual cannot remember anything beyond 90 minutes. He is fully aware of his identity and his personality did not change. He has to manage his life through an electronic diary and access to prompts, the study said.