Transient Global Amnesia

Transient Global Amnesia Or TGA

TGA or Transient Global Amnesia is a neurological condition characterized by a total disruption of the short-term memory. Luckily the symptoms are only temporary. The condition is usually triggered by certain neurological conditions such as stroke or epilepsy.

People affected by TGA people simply can’t remember recent events and many times they will keep asking the same question because they can’t recall the answer. Actually they won’t remember anything that happened in there. They won’t remember how they got there or where are they.

Also people will be unable to remember what happened even a year ago. People will still be able to remember who they are and they might recognize people they know.

The good thing is the condition is really rare, harmless and it’s not very likely to occur again. After the short episodes are gone the people will recover completely and everything will be just fine.

Diagnosis and Symptoms

The most specific symptom of TGA is the inability to recall the recent past or form new memories. When this symptom was identified the doctor will look for other possible causes of amnesia.

Other important symptoms might include:

  • Sudden memory loss, confirmed by an witness
  • Normal abilities to recognize familiar people and objects as well as the ability to understand and follow directions
  • The ability to remember personal identity despite amnesia
  • Absence of signs that might indicate any kind of brain damage

Usually the episodes won’t last longer than 24 hours and the memory will return gradually. Repetitive questioning is a distinctive signature for this condition.

In case you notice who suddenly drifts to confusion and amnesia from normal awareness, find a doctor or an ambulance. The condition itself is not that dangerous but it is hard to determine if it is just TGA or other life-threatening illness that might cause memory loss as well.


So far the exact causes are not known yet. It seems there’s a link between TGA and a history of migraines. Other events that were commonly reported to occur before a TGA episode and that which might trigger it are:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Mild head trauma
  • Sudden immersion in very hot or very cold water
  • Exhausting physical activity
  • Severe emotional distress

The most common risk factors are age and history of migraines. People who have migraines are at a higher risk of TGA as wells as people aged 50 or older.

The incidence is reported at 2.9 in 100,000 people in Spain and 5.2 in 100,000 people in the US. Among people aged 50 or older the incidence is about 23 in 100,000 in the US and 32 in 100,000 in Scandinavia.

The people aged 56 to 75 are the most likely to experience TGA.

TGA does not affect morbidity or mortality and the prognosis is very good.

The condition does not require any treatment. After a case of TGA the patient, friends and relatives are very distressed and might need reassurance that everything will be just fine.

More studies and research are necessary for the understanding of this condition. Currently neurocognitive and imaging tests are conducted to find out if the TGA is as benign as they thought it is.

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