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Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “amnesia”

Memories aren’t made of this: amnesia at the movies from PubMed Central

Memories aren’t made of this: amnesia at the movies from PubMed Central – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535990

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are the most common, real life causes of amnesia?
  • How has amnesia been treated in the movies?
  • Why is Dory from Finding Nemo considered an accurate portrayal of an amnesiac?

Description:

This 2004 article from the British Medical Journal is available full text. It traces the history of amnesia in cinema from 1915 forward. After examining dozens of movies, it found only three that represented amnesia and related memory problems with any real accuracy:

Numerous movies are singled out for their lack of accuracy, including The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and 50 First Dates (2004), and The Bourne Identity (2002).  One gets the feeling that author Sallie Baxendale had to restrain herself from laughing during her cinematic researches.

Key takeaways for writers who want to be accurate about Amnesia:

  • The most profound amnesic syndromes usually develop as a result of neurosurgery, brain infection, or a stroke.
  • Head injuries can made you forget a short period before the accident and the accident itself. It won’t erase your identity.
  • Organic amnesia comes with with severe and permanent difficulties in taking in new information.
  • Head injuries are NOT a toggle switch. It’s not “One bump to forget and Two to remember.” You’ll just get more brain damage.

This article comes with a filmography, if you care to have an amnesiac film festival. Will it be a memorable experience? Only you can decide.

General memory resources from MedlinePlus

General memory resources from MedlinePlus  – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/memory.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are the signs that turn forgetfulness into a condition requiring medical attention?
  • What are some coping strategies for characters with memory loss?
  • What is a memory book and how could it help a character with dementia?
  • What plot complications could result from a character with agnosia?

Description:

This page provides links to tools to help determine the difference between regular forgetfulness and something more profound.

See specific conditions for memory conditions such as Agnosia, Amnesia, Brain Fog, Dissociative Disorders and Transient Global Amnesia. The video section includes “Making a Memory Book.” It’s intended for seniors, but could be helpful to other memory impaired characters. The Research and Journal Articles sections have information on how normal memory works.

Amnesia, memory and brain systems from PubMed Central

Amnesia, memory and brain systems from PubMed Central – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1692096

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What actually causes amnesia?
  • How is short-term (less than 1 min) memory affected by amnesia?
  • What are some things that can make it even harder for amesiacs to remember things?
  • What does the theory about multiple types of memory imply for amesiacs?

Description:

A 12 page journal article from 1997 that serves as a technical introduction to Amnesia and how in some cases the brain can reorganize itself and begin collecting memories again. Would be good for stories that need technical detail.

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