Anterograde Amnesia and Memento

Did I Have an Assignment Due? I Can’t Remember. Anterograde Amnesia is not genetic or or something that comes with age. It is a condition where a person’s memory of the events prior to a trauma are retained, while the events following the trauma are forgotten and not retained.(Anterograde Amnesia 1).

This results from brain injury. The ability to learn new information or make new memories is severely impared. The person who has amnesia may recall their childhood memories very well but do not have the ability to remember the things that happen on a daily basis.

There has been experiments that test the ability of the brain to rehabilitate during this experience. Even though Anterograde Amnesia destroys the memory for facts or events, it may in fact spare the memory for skills or habbits. This theory is tested by teaching an individual a new skill, such as how to play a game. The next day,the
amnesic individual will claim to have no memory of the prior session, but when asked to try executing the skill, can often perform quite well-indicating that some memories have been formed.(Memory Loss & the Brain 1).

Anterograde Amnesia can occur after damage to at least three distinct brain areas. The first, and most well-studied, is the hippocampus and associated areas in the medial temporal lobes of the brain. It can also occur if the basal forebrain is damaged, a group of structures that produce acetylcholine, a chemical which helps cells in the brainstorenew information during learning. Finally is the diencephalon which is a set of structures deep in the brain including the medial thalamic nuclei.(Memory Loss & the Brain 1).

The movie is centered around Leonard who is an insurance investigator seeking revenge. His problems all started when his life was forever destroyed by a couple of robbers breaking into his house and beating him and his wife. When he came to, his wife was dead and he had no short-term memory. His quality of life was severely hampered
after this event, and he could only live a comprehendible life by tattooing notes on himself and taking pictures of things with a Polaroid camera.(Memento 1)

While encountering several other people in his ventures that took advantage of him, Leonard still managed to find and kill his wife’s murderer. In order to do this, he took drastic measures. He remembered from the pictures and tattoos everything, from the person’s license plate number he was after, to which car was his. The motel clerk also took advantage of his disability by renting him out more than one room knowing that
Leonard would forget shortly after. If he did not write the information down within a short amount of time, it was forgotten. One time he did not write down the much needed information. In the time it took for Natalie to walk out and back in the house it was like it never happened. So instead of remembering that the woman was bad, all he knew was
what she had just told him when she came back in the house.

Although Leonard’s situation was more extensive than the eveyday cases of Anterograde Amnesia, he fought through it. He woke up every morning looking for clues telling him what, who, and where he was. One morning when he was getting dressed, he noticed all the tattoos covering his body which confused him. He then quickly undressed
to be able to re-read them all. This was an everyday occurrence with Leonard discoverring and rediscovering himself on a daily basis.

what I take away from this assignment is that psychological disorders are a part of this world. normal everyday people deal with serious issues all the time. watching the movie “Memento”, I observed that amnesia is a terrible yet livable disorder. Forgetting everything you love, not remembering who you are or how you got there would be almost impossible to deal with. Yet, i learned that if you have the will to overcome your disability anything is possible. Also, from the project I learned that some folks take advantage of people with these disabilities. In the movie, Teddy befriends Leonard knowing of his disabilities and ends up taking advantage of him for several years, to his own benefit. Then Natalie abuses his illness for only a short while and still gets away with it. Learning about Anterograde Amnesia has made me open my eyes to the world, and helped me understand what some people go through daily. Not just the people who are living with this disorder go through terrible experiences, but their caretakers, loved ones, and family. They are the ones who have to take care of or watch the people they care about suffer.
In conclusion this assignment has made me aware of many different kinds of amnesia. With acceptance and constant repetition this disorder can be managed. Even if able to manage, memory loss would be a down right terrible disorder to have. We joke about the topic saying “I wish I couldl forget some of the people I have met,” but put yourself in their shoes. Try to feel what it would be like not to remember anything you did yesterday or the day before that. Imagine waking up in a strange place everyday and you have no idea how you arrived there. Even though I will never fully understand this disorder, I am more aware of what they go through and how they deal with life.

Works Cited
“Anterograde Amnesia.” Mahalo.com: Human-Powered Search. 02 Dec. 2009 .
“Memento (2000) – Plot Summary.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). 02 Dec. 2009 .
“Memento movie review.” Ramblings. 02 Dec. 2009 .
Memory Loss & the Brain. 02 Dec. 2009 .

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