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Papers of the Week

2022 Jun 12

J Clin Med



Forgetting the Unforgettable: Transient Global Amnesia Part I: Pathophysiology and Etiology.


Sparaco M, Pascarella R, Muccio C F, Zedde M
J Clin Med. 2022 Jun 12; 11(12).
PMID: 35743444.


Transient global amnesia (TGA) is a clinical syndrome characterized by the sudden onset of a temporary memory disorder with a profound anterograde amnesia and a variable impairment of the past memory. Since the first description, dating back over 60 years, several cases have beenreported in the literature. Nevertheless, TGA remains one of the most mysterious diseases in clinical neurology. The debate regarding the etiology of this disease has focused mainly on three different mechanisms: vascular (due to venous flow changes or focal arterial ischemia), epileptic, and migraine related. However, to date there is no scientific proof of any of these mechanisms. Furthermore, the demonstration by diffusion-weighted MRI of lesions in the CA1 field of the hippocampus cornu ammonis led us to hypothesize that the selective vulnerability of CA1 neurons to metabolic stress could play a role in the pathophysiology of TGA. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on the anatomy, vascularization and function of the hippocampus. Furthermore, we discuss the emerging theories on the etiology and the pathophysiological cascade leading to an impairment of hippocampal function during the attacks.