The 21st Show

ENCORE: One Man’s Experience With Transient Global Amnesia


Illinois Public Media

Many of us, no matter our age, will experience a lapse in memory at some point. But imagine your memory completely rebooting itself every few minutes for an entire day. Suddenly, you’re unable to remember anything you’d done, up to just moments before. Not only that, but you don’t remember basic facts - like who the president is, or where your family members live. 

The next day, you’re fine, and your memory comes back, as if nothing had happened and with no lasting  physical or mental impairments. This is what it’s like to have transient global amnesia - or TGA.

We spoke with Frank McAndrew, a psychology professor at Knox College in Galesburg. He experienced transient global amnesia and wrote about it for Psychology Today. His story was mentioned in a recent New York Times column on the topic. 

We also talked with Doctor Eugene Scharf, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York. He joined to discuss transient global amnesia and what the medical community knows about it.

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