What is it?

Transient global amnesia (TGA) is a clinical syndrome characterized by the acute onset of anterograde amnesia - the inability to form new memories, or short-term memory impairment.
During the episode of TGA, other cognitive functions are normal.
Most clinical symptoms last a few hours and by definition resolve within 24 hours.

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Signs & symptoms

Patients are disoriented in time and often repetitively ask questions about the date or their environment, the so-called "broken-record" phenomenon.
Retrograde amnesia (forgetting information learned before the onset of the episode) is common but more variable.
Other cognitive functions are normal, including language and procedural or motor memory (playing a sport, tying shoelaces, driving, cooking, playing a musical instrument, etc.).
Except for the amnesia, a person having a TGA attack generally appears mentally alert and lucid, possessing full knowledge of self-identity and identity of close friends and family.


TGA is a clinical diagnosis, based on the symptoms present. There are no confirmatory diagnostic tests. However, some tests may be conducted in order to exclude other conditions that may present similarly with memory deficits.
A detailed neurologic examination should be performed in order to demonstrate that the memory loss is an isolated finding. Additional tests may include: blood tests, neuroimaging (head CT or MRI) and EEG test that records the electrical activity of the brain.


TGA is a self limiting problem and treatment is not required. If there is an underlying condition causing your memory deficit, it will be treated accordingly.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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