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Very Short Term Memory Loss ~15-30 minutes

Hello everyone,

So, I'm new to the forum and this is my first post. I wanted to get some information on short term memory loss. By short term I mean very short term. Specifically in the 15~30minute range. I have these quite often. I'm not sure why or how I get them. They appear randomly at any given moment; although there were some special cases.

A special case in which it happens often is when I do any type of physical exercise(ie. run, play sports, etc.). The biggest side-effect would be panic. I don't really know what I am doing and this causes me to feel very uncomfortable. For sports, if I'm on a team I would completely forget what position I'm in, who I'm supposed to guard, who's on my team etc...This happens often even when I'm not physically exercising.

Nothing severe happens when I get these but they are extremely uncomfortable as I can't really answer questions or do anything that requires comprehensive thinking. For example(this has happened more than once), I was taking a test and I had it and sat there looking at the test not knowing what to do for about 15~20 minutes; it was a math test.

In other cases, I usually just walk to the bathroom if it happens at my home. I sit in the bathroom trying to remember what I was doing. I am even confused as where my bathroom is in a house that I've lived in for over 9 years. These happen I would say at least twice a month, sometimes once(but that is very rare)

I don't know if the following information is relevant but this has been happening since I've had my first seizure(approximately 8th grade, so around 13 yrs old). I am currently 19 and it still is happening.

If anyone has any reason, similar experience or help...I would greatly appreciate it. Sorry, it's kind of a long question...look forward to hearing from you all.




Oh and one more thing I forgot, it is not a seizure. As in, I don't fall down or lose body function. I just have memory loss.

John, of the information you've described and you not being certain as to what it is, then how would you know that what you're experiencing is not a seizure? Falling down or losing body functions can be just two symptoms of several different types of seizures. And there are over 40 different types of seizures. Yes, over 40. The description of what you have labeled as "very short term memory loss ~ 15 to 30 minutes" are signs and symptoms of what's called "postictal confusion." And postictal confusion is a common occurrence that takes place after a person has had a complex partial seizure and or a tonic clonic seizure (old name grand mal).

As for not knowing all whole lot about seizures and epilepsy, you're not alone. I thought my very first seizure took place in July of 1994. I was with my parents and according to what they saw I had a tonic clonic seizure. However, by learning so much more about seizures and epilepsy and thinking back about what I started experiencing in early 1987, I was actually experiencing simple partial seizures. So my actual very first seizure took place way back in the early part of the year 1987.

If you have not done so already, my suggestion is for you explain what you have been experiencing with the doctor; preferably a neurologist who specializes in seizures and epilepsy.

Bruce (I'm not a doctor, but instead, an epilepsy support group leader, epilepsy advocate, who has epilepsy.)

Oh thank you very much Bruce :)

I think I should have been more clear...the memory loss is not COMPLETELY lost but just very faded. Within those 15~30 minutes I lose my train of thought and it feels as if I had a seizure(when I actually didn't, I'm 100% certain of this). When you said postictal confusion I searched it on wikipedia and found the page of it; this is what I was talking about. The state that you feel confused/drowsiness and more. This is the feeling I get but I'm not sure why. I THINK it's a very minor seizure that doesn't affect me besides causing a postictal state. I know hardly anything about seizures and what I'm saying might sound like total nonsense.

To sum it up it's just having postictal state without actually having a full seizure(falling down, losing body function..etc)...So is this a type of a light seizure? I don't really know the technical names of the types and I searched wikipedia somewhat thoroughly. I haven't talked to my neurologist about it yet, but next appointment I will bring it up.

Thanks for the information.

Do you use marijuana or any other recreational drug? (Serious Question, drug use may have a clinical impact). Had you ever used drugs? Do you have a history of stroke or any cardiac conditions?


Hi, thanks for the reply.

No, I don't use any drugs. I have never smoked marijuana, or anything else in my life. I never drink alcohol either. Also, I don't have a history of stroke or cardiac conditions. 

The following is only a small attempt at brainstorming / looking at the concept of very short term memory loss (15-30 minutes). What you describe seems to fall within a kind of transitional area, that is what is it, what is causing it, why does it only last 15-30 minutes, etc. Possible words/concepts: physical exertion can very quickly change the demands for oxygen, breathing pattern, how glucose is used in the brain/mind; midbrain area - medulla, pons, midbrain, thalamus, thalamus to cortex connections, hippocampus, etc.; cognitive changes which can be due to the consequences of concussions / sports concussions; how stable is memory (engrams) in the brain - can memory be strong as steel or as weak as words written in sand at the ocean line? For some persons, memory can be a little like the beam of a flashlight which, when the batteries run low, the beam tends to fade, the beam can tend to fade in and out and even the air temperature (desert vs snow capped peak) can play a role in how the batteries work. In your situation, you are very aware at times as to how your consciousness can remain intact but your access to recent memory becomes quite unpredictable for a few minutes. Apparently the linkages between consciousness and memory access become less strong for a period of time. In terms of medicines known to temporarily strengthen memory connections for some users, the stimulants - alerting agents (used for ADHD)(examples, coffee, caffeine compounds, Ritalin, Dexedrine, Adderall, and so on) can cause slight, temporary improvements to memory, however, the same meds are known to lower the seizure threshold for some of those with epilepsy so they aren't for everyone. The concept of memory is a large field from petit mal/absence/TLE/complex partial, etc. (the many epilepsies) to ADHD Inattentive to Central Auditory Processing Disorder - to hemiparesis - to dementia - Alzheimer's, etc. One of the latest areas which is looking at memory is the new area of sports concussions - - end of limited memory comments.

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