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Thread: Prolong Loss of Self Awareness or Memory?

  1. #1 Prolong Loss of Self Awareness or Memory? 
    Forum Masters Degree MrMojo1's Avatar
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    A while ago I underwent minor surgery where I was under general anesthesia for approx. 2 hours. I have no memory past counting down to 97 from 100. The experience was unsettling, but that emotion was brief. When I was younger, I had a roommate that was battling his alcohol/drug addiction. What concerned him the most was the "blackouts" he experience one he reached a certain level of intoxication. He would party on Nantucket Island, travel back to mainland, and have no memory of his heavily drug induced conscious state.

    Does the mind that is unconscious for an extended period (e.g. in a coma greater than 2 weeks) lose it's identity? If it does, has there been any measured observations of temporary loss? Is there a correlation between memory loss and self awareness? Can cumulative minor losses of consciousness have measured effect on self awareness?


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    I would think, generally speaking, it could go either way. There are many intracacies and variables to consider. How many and which brain cells were damaged. If it was a chemically induced coma. How much swelling has been on the brain, for how long and in which area...It really has to be considered on an individual basis.

    Anoxic brain injury can be mild, moderate or severe. Severe cases may remain in coma with little chance of recovery, moderate cases may take months or years to get to some normal state, mild anoxic brain injuries usually make a full recovery.

    After being a victim of a car accident, Terry Wallis stayed in a coma for 19 years when he woke in 2003 at 39 years old, he thought he was still a teenager, but he didn't recognize his mother. Memory, cognitive thought, and consciousness are tricky subjects.

    But, it is my opinion that once a brain has had any trauma, then it has become more susceptible to future events. This may be a good place to start Memory Loss: Check Your Symptoms and Signs With the Symptom Checker by MedicineNet.com


    Last edited by Kalopin; July 19th, 2012 at 07:04 PM.
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    Forum Masters Degree MrMojo1's Avatar
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    Thank you for answering. The reference to the Terry Wallis case was very insightful. In reading the article relating to the case, the phrase "oriented to person...He misidentified his location and denied that he been transported" is used describe Terry's symptoms. Is this a conclusion from a Mental Status Examination that Terry may have a disorder relating to Attitude and Perception?

    Possible axonal regrowth in late recovery from the minimally conscious state
    Citation for this article: J. Clin. Invest. 116:2005–2011 (2006). doi:10.1172/JCI27021.
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    I should say that I am not a physician, although I have had several experiences in dealing with brain injuries.
    Terry may be an exceptional case. As I'm sure you read, he initially slightly reverted back to a more "child-like" state, in making animal noises, but he soon gained closer to normal levels.
    The brain has remarkable healing power. If there is any sign of brain activity in a patient, then there is always a possibility of recovery. This is what makes determinations difficult. Every life is worth fighting for. So, I would say that, in every brain injury case, there is hope.
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  6. #5  
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    I know too little to be of real help. I've had a personal very minor lost of identity
    or more accurate to say that I knew whom I where but I lacked recall of what I
    had done in the morning that day. I had most likely past out of fell asleep at the
    computer say 11.30 AM and then woke up to being conscious at say 01.00 PM
    that day. So only been not aware for 90 minutes? Now usually one do remember
    that one have been eating and reading news and writing on forums and so on.

    What did frigthen me where that persons that I had written to I did not knew
    who they where or why I had written to them and I did not know what I had
    written in the style I had used and I found my own style of expression as alien
    to whom I where there and then as someone that where awake but not his old
    identity. I knew my name for sure and age and not married and no kids and day
    of the week. But my identity in the morning hours from say 8 AM up to 11.30 AM where gone.

    It took many many hours to work myself back to "owning" my identity. One nice and
    friendly Lady that I had exchanged views with in the morning had to assure me that
    I do write in the teasing style that now looked very non-familiar to me.

    So somehow my loss of recall had a hard time reconnecting to my "self" that where active
    just 90 minutes earlier.

    It felt as if I where sombody suddenly in a body that had done things that where not me doing them.

    Felt rather scary as an experiience. I could not trust myself being me or how to express it.

    One explanation could ahve been a small blood clot or similar that made my brain lose the
    short term memory but why would it fail to reconnect to my sure identity that since then
    when I have re-owned all my txts and personality is the same each morning. A once in a time
    anomaity that now is fading away but it did scare me at that time that I had very lttle control.

    There where no way for me to connect within me. What I read did look like if a stranger had
    occupide my body and written in style that where not my personality at all. Somebody that
    I even disliked. He where too teasing for his own good

    Sorry it is too remote for to help you but wanted to share it anyway.
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackMonedula View Post
    I know too little to be of real help. I've had a personal very minor lost of identity
    or more accurate to say that I knew whom I where but I lacked recall of what I
    had done in the morning that day. I had most likely past out of fell asleep at the
    computer say 11.30 AM and then woke up to being conscious at say 01.00 PM
    that day. So only been not aware for 90 minutes? Now usually one do remember
    that one have been eating and reading news and writing on forums and so on.

    What did frigthen me where that persons that I had written to I did not knew
    who they where or why I had written to them and I did not know what I had
    written in the style I had used and I found my own style of expression as alien
    to whom I where there and then as someone that where awake but not his old
    identity. I knew my name for sure and age and not married and no kids and day
    of the week. But my identity in the morning hours from say 8 AM up to 11.30 AM where gone.

    It took many many hours to work myself back to "owning" my identity. One nice and
    friendly Lady that I had exchanged views with in the morning had to assure me that
    I do write in the teasing style that now looked very non-familiar to me.

    So somehow my loss of recall had a hard time reconnecting to my "self" that where active
    just 90 minutes earlier.

    It felt as if I where sombody suddenly in a body that had done things that where not me doing them.

    Felt rather scary as an experiience. I could not trust myself being me or how to express it.

    One explanation could ahve been a small blood clot or similar that made my brain lose the
    short term memory but why would it fail to reconnect to my sure identity that since then
    when I have re-owned all my txts and personality is the same each morning. A once in a time
    anomaity that now is fading away but it did scare me at that time that I had very lttle control.

    There where no way for me to connect within me. What I read did look like if a stranger had
    occupide my body and written in style that where not my personality at all. Somebody that
    I even disliked. He where too teasing for his own good

    Sorry it is too remote for to help you but wanted to share it anyway.
    Sounds like you may have had an episode of what is known as "Transient Global Amnesia". It is rare, most of the time it is harmless and unlikely to happen again. Episodes of this are usually short-lived and afterwards memory returns to normal. You may have had low potassium and/or electrolyte imbalance. Be sure and eat right, take vitamins, extra potassium and always exercize!
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMojo1 View Post
    Can cumulative minor losses of consciousness have measured effect on self awareness?
    I think a person adapts to cumulative more than incidental. For example epileptics have their minds flattened exactly as by shock therapy, but a seizure is not life-changing because they've learned to structure life around it.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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