London: A Briton who can only remember up to 90 minutes and bears a striking similarity to the memory loss presented in movies like ‘Groundhog Day’ and ‘Memento’ may be a unique case never seen before, say psychologists from University of Leicester.
The 38-year-old fit and healthy man suffered memory loss after local anaesthetic and root-canal treatment. For the past decade he can only remember up to 90 minutes and awakes every morning thinking it is the same day he went to 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.
There is no evidence that the treatment at the dentist can be blamed for his condition, the psychologists who describable the study in the journal Neurocase said. 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 for 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 anaesthetic, the individual cannot remember anything beyond 90 minutes.
He is fully aware of his identity and his personality did not change — but every day the man thinks it is the day of his dental appointment. He has to manage his life through an electronic diary and access to prompts, the study said.