Memory disturbances frequently occur after brain damage, but can be associated with psychiatric illnesses as well. Amnesia--the most severe form of memory impairment--has several variants, including anterograde and retrograde amnesia, material-specific and modality-specific amnesia, and transient global amnesia. We searched databases to obtain an overview of amnesia research from the past 5 years. Research into amnesia has increased exponentially, probably because of the availability of modern brain-imaging techniques. In line with the view that memory is not a unity but is organised into several systems, amnesia is described as a multifaceted disease with a frequently poor prognosis.
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