Can the power of love cure amnesia?

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The humorous and heart-wrenching film 50 First Dates proposes the thought-provoking question: Can love cure amnesia? After the main character, Lucy Whitmore, (Drew Barrymore) got into a car crash, she could not remember anything that happened after the car crash. She woke up every morning thinking it was the Sunday of her accident. Adam Sandler's character, Henry Roth, made Lucy fall in love with him everyday and soon became convinced that the love that they shared for each was going to cure her amnesia.

Doctors told Lucy that she suffered from Goldfield's Syndrome. Although this type of disease doesn't exist, Barrymore's character showed signs of anterograde amnesia, in which someone loses the ability to form new memories. Despite the wrong name of the disease, the film didn't depict the disease wrongfully. In many films, characters with amnesia suddenly remember past experiences or have "aha-moments." Barrymore's character never had an epiphany moment and continued to wake up thinking nothing had happened. (Sorry for spoiling the ending if you've never seen it!) Those that suffer from amnesia have an extremely gradual recovery, if they have any recovery at all.

Without previous knowledge about amnesia, I, too, believed the myths about amnesia. Especially after seeing movies that improperly demonstrate amnesia, I thought that one suffering from amnesia could recover, not necessarily suddenly, though. How would one go about recovering? Perhaps revisiting memories like looking at pictures or watching home videos. If a person suffering from retrograde amnesia sees pictures from past experiences what does he or she think? Does he or she have simply no recollection whatsoever? Does it spark any remembrance of the event? It's so hard to believe that someone could see himself or herself participating in some sort of event and still not have any memory of it. When a part of the brain is damaged, it seems like it would be equivalent to breaking a bone in the body. Major damaging would take longer to recover, but does have the ability to recover, while a minor damage would be able to "bounce back" quicker. It seems like this may be why there are many myths about amnesia, at least in my mind.

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This page contains a single entry by yesne009 published on October 23, 2011 11:46 AM.

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