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Memory Problems After Concussion and Brain Injury

Memory Problems after Concussion: The Reliability Factor

Computer Analogy

  • RAM/Hard Drive – Short Term/Long Term
  • Input Problems
    • Multi-Attending
    • Speed of Information
  • Finding Problems

Many researchers will point to memory problems after concussion as being the most common symptom after brain injury. As earlier said, while it is a problem to some degree in every case, I believe that this focus misses the point. Memory problems after concussion are to be expected with damaged neural connections and related pathology, regardless of whether pure memory ability has been compromised.

Once again, I find it helpful to use the computer as an analogy. The first analogy is the comparison between short term and long term memory, and RAM versus hard drive memory on your computer. If you have gotten this far into a web page, you probably understand how your computer uses and records information. That which you are using at this moment, is being used by your computers RAM, available to you so long as you keep this window open and supply power to your computer. But cut the power or close the window and this information will be lost, unless of course you have stored it in some way on your hard drive. That data which you have stored on your hard drive, can be retrieved the next time you turn on your computer, subject of course to your ability to find where it is that you stored it.

The terms used in brain and memory problems after concussion research of short term and long term memory are equivalent to the same process. Short term memories are those you are using now, long term are those you can retrieve from your brain memory banks. The science of human memory is largely a study of how information gets transferred from one to the other, through what is called encoding.

Yet, there is a more important factor when considering memory problems after concussion related to diffuse axonal injury, and that is the input factor. Your mind cannot remember what did not get inputted. What is only partially inputted, will probably not be remembered, or will be remembered improperly.

In order to see the difference, just look at what percentage of each page is downloaded at the bottom of your memory window. Would you want to go through life with only 39% of your memories downloading?

Your brain works the same way. If its processing speed is slowed, or it is busy doing something else when the memory should be encoded, it will get incomplete data from which to encode the memory. If the data is incomplete, the memory will be also.

As stated on the previous page, memory problems can seriously complicate efforts to accommodate the information processing and fatigue problems that come with diffuse axonal injury. Memory problems are what most effects reliability in the work place after such injuries. The injured person who does not recognize these subtle memory problems, and find effective ways to accommodate for them, will get into trouble and could cause serious problems for an employer.

Fortunately, much of the focus in brain injury rehabilitation is focused on accommodating for memory problems after concussionand successful treatment strategies do exist, if two things are done:

  • The injury is taken seriously enough so that rehabilitation is prescribed, and
  • The brain injured person remembers to use these strategies.
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