Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart May 31, 2009 at 1:08 pm

In the journal Cortex, researchers describe the case of a patient with severe memory loss who has a tendency to invent detailed and perfectly plausible false memories (confabulations) in response to questions to which most people would answer “I don’t know”, such as the one above. They have named this unusual condition confabulatory hypermnesia, and believe that theirs is the first study to document it. 

The patient, a 68-year-old patient known as LM, had a history of heavy drinking which lasted more than 30 years and stopped just 3 months before the study was carried out. He was referred to the memory clinic at the Charles Foix Hospital in Ivry-sur-Seine for a neuropsychological evaluation after he began to experience memory loss and disorientation in time and space. A brain scan showed mild degeneration throughout the cerebral cortex and he was diagnosed with Korsakoff’s Syndrome, a neurodegenerative condition which occurs as a result of vitamin B1deficiency and is associated with long-term, chronic alcoholism.


May 31, 2009 at 1:49 pm
tash says:

my partner seems to have that, or is that just lying syndrome?

May 31, 2009 at 9:39 pm
Ms G says:

People with dementia, in the first phase, show the same symptoms ..
I wonder if this LM is not just trying to be normal .. normal to himself that is. To him it might not matter whether it is true or not. He probably is very aware of his condition and this will cause these systems in some people, a matter of choice. Sometimes I feel that scientists over reason things . and overlook a person’s freedom of choice in these matters. That they are aware …

When your brain is not the same as you have been used to your normal safety system is gone .. and you will find new ways to feel safe.

It’s just one patient … so can’t be called science This LM would be way more interesting if we’d hear his point of view about these things. So what is really going on in him. How he feels/sees those things.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to put scientists into lots of tests and talk about their brain system and weird behaviour and such … They often seem to know so little about their own brain/inside. That’s why they prefer to chck it from the outside. Quite often.

I know people without Korsakov how misbehave like LM very often …… including myself from time to time …

What is the standard ?

I myself tend not to believe scientists just like that .. they have proven a bit too often already to have been wrong or useless. In my own private life for sure. It’s so good that I was present there myself and took control of things, did not allow them to take control of myself. They keep being blind.

June 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm
Hayley says:

There’s a fascianting account of a Korsakov’s sufferer in Oliver Sack’s ‘Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat’ – a 49 year old who was convinced he was still 19 due to retrograde amnesia. He also suffered ongoing anterograde amnesia – the inability to form new memories and was therefore permamently stuck in 1945.

To Ms G, Korsakov’s original thesis was first published in1887 and diagnosis is attained using a variety of intelligence/aptitude tests. It’s caused by destruction of the neurons in the mammilliary bodies – alcoholism being the primary indicator. Without testing for this biological evidence, of course, they might just be fibbing!

June 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm
ScreamingGreenConure says:

Ms G, scientists are just people and are as blind and not-blind in different areas of thinking as anyone else. Scientific protocol is designed to help us get around limitations like inherent bias. I know scientists who are very sensitive to people and very kind-hearted, it’s unfair to generalise people because they have an interest or they work in science of some kind.


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