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Controversies in Neurology
September 2006

Transient Global Amnesia: Look at Mechanisms Not Causes

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Division of Child Neurology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Arch Neurol. 2006;63(9):1338-1339. doi:10.1001/archneur.63.9.1338

The great tragedy of science—the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.

Thomas Huxley

Transient global amnesia (TGA) is a well-recognized clinical syndrome characterized by sudden-onset temporary loss of anterograde and recent retrograde memory. Although some individuals have repeat attacks, most have only 1 attack and recover fully. There has been a great deal of conjecture about the underlying cause of TGA; cerebral ischemia, migraine, epilepsy, and now venous congestion each have proponents,1-5 but after years of debate there is no consensus.6,7

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