Head injury

As discussed above, severe head injury can produce a persistent amnesia which may or may not be associated with generalized cognitive impairment. There may be direct trauma to the frontal and anterior temporal lobes, resulting in contusion and haemorrhaging, contrecoup damage, intracranial haemorrhage, and axonal tearing and gliosis following rotational forces. Memory function is commonly the last cognitive function to improve following an acute trauma, and patients can show the characteristic features of an amnesic syndrome. The phenomenon of 'isolated retrograde amnesia' has been described in other cases of head injury. In many of the latter cases, there appears to have been a differential rate in recovery between an initially severe anterograde memory loss and the retrograde component; in other cases, it is not at all clear that the neurologists and neuropsychologists describing the patients have taken sufficient account of an interaction between psychological and neurological factors. Traumatic head injury is considered in more detail in Chapter4..1.11.

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