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DAVID NIELD 16 JULY The movie Groundhog Day is a comedy classic in which a beleaguered Bill Murray is forced to relive the same day again and again with increasingly hilarious results, and now an ex-army man from Britain is experiencing something very similar: he wakes up every morning believing it's 14 Marchand he has a trip to the dentist scheduled for later that day.
The man - who hasn't Memory Men Search identified for reasons of family privacy - is the subject of a new case study by academics at the University of Leicester. There are no medical breakthroughs to report here, but clinical psychologist Gerald Burgess says he wanted to put the incredible situation on record in the hope of finding more comparable cases across the world.
For the last 10 years he has been unable to keep memories for longer than 90 minutes, and he wakes up every morning believing he's back in Germany in mid-March, with a dentist appointment coming up later that day. His personality and long-term memory have not been affected, but he can't create new memories, and now lives his life with the help of prompts on a smartphone and reminders from friends and family.
The type of brain injury scientists would expect to see with this kind of memory loss - damage to the hippocampal and diencephalon structures that act as a 'printing press' for new memories - just isn't there. Ultimately, the man's condition may change the way we think about problems with memory and brain function, if researchers can work out exactly what is going wrong. One theory is that something is happening to the memories right before they're written to the hippocampus for long-term storage - something's wiping them out deep in the neural synapses that are supposed to consolidate themselves to store memories.
Burgess says there's a lot more work to do to back Memory Men Search the theory, and he's encouraging other researchers to get in touch with him about similar cases. As for the man living with the condition in the UK, the one memory he has been able to form in the last decade relates to the death of his father Dating Barba i in Senior Charente, and that opens up another interesting tangent for researchers regarding the link between emotion and memory.
For the rest of us, the next time you wake up dreading a dental appointment, just be grateful you don't have the same feeling every single day.