Date Published: August 17, 2004
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Partial Text: In the 2002 thriller Memento, the protagonist, Lenny, is plagued by a crippling neurological disorder that renders him incapable of storing memories for longer than fifteen minutes. He wants nothing more than to avenge the murder of his wife, but as another character in the film tells him, “Even if you get revenge, you’re not going to remember it. You’re not even going to know it happened.” Lenny has anterograde amnesia, a condition typically caused by stroke or other illness. (In the film, it’s caused by a blow to the head.) Most forms of amnesia—including the more common retrograde amnesia, which involves the loss of long-term memory—are caused by some type of brain injury— particularly to the hippocampus.