Scary: Waking Up 17 Years Earlier in Your Life

In bed last night I was surfing around the Web on my Acer Iconia Android Tablet PC and I came across a recent item (29th July, 2011) in the UK Mail about a 34 year old woman and mother who went to bed one night and when she woke up her brain had reset to when she was 15.


It seems this is a known and diagnosed condition and it is called Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) and it happens, in varying degrees, to about 5 in 100,000 people.

What varies hugely is how much memory the brain loses (drops the linkages to) and then how long it takes the brain to build those memories back up. It seems typically people who wake up with TGA lose between 5 to 25 years of memories and it can take between six months to five years for them to ‘find’ those memories and recreate the linkages in their brain.


One of the ‘shocks’ for this woman was that she thought she was going to have “conquered half the planet” by her mid-thirties. It was a shock to wake up with only her memories of being 15 and to be told by friends that she was 34 and was just an ordinary single mum with a crap car.


It seems the trigger for TGA in females is intense stress or emotional turmoil, and in males TGA is generally triggered by physical exertion (such as having sex or straining to push a car [their examples, not mine]). However the few Web pages I checked on TGA did not really give a clear idea of what can cause it. In one article it says there is a link between TGA and ‘dark’ (non-pain or very low-pain) migraines, and then in another article it says that there is no evidence to link TGA to migraines. So, like so many other medical issues, they really don’t know that much about it.

All of above graphics are linked to the original article I came across in the Mail. There is also this item in Wikipedia (here) and this in the Health section of CNN (here). You can find a lot more by putting “transient global amnesia” into Google—with the literals.

Just another scary thing to look forward to in life.