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Alzheimer's Disease

Memory Delay

08/11/2009

Question:

I have been experiencing a type of memory problem. At times when I am driving or even in the home, I all of a sudden forget where I am. I don`t know what direction I am supposed to go (even though I have a suspicion as to where to turn) or reconigize what is around me. But usually within 10 to 20 seconds or so I remember. It`s very strange and I am starting to get worried about it. I forget where I am and I don`t recognize what is around me, but within ten to twenty seconds it comes back and Im like "how in the world did I forget that".

I have three young kids, don`t always sleep well, seem to be the type of person who always has to be working towards some type of goal, and have been under serious stress for a couple of months now. I also take medication for Myasthenia Gravis (just a background on me). Should I be concerned with this type of memory delay?

Answer:

This sounds like you are describing jamais vu. This is a temporary sensation of unfamiliarity. Sometimes you get a sensation that something is new to you even though you've known it for a long time. It can be getting very briefly lost in very familiar places. Probably between 40% and 60% of the population have experienced this sensation. Rarely it can be related to epilepsy. It is usually of no consequence and some people have it frequently. Talk to your doctor about it and they can review your medication list. Some sleeping pills have produced similar symptoms.

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Response by:

Douglas W Scharre, MD Douglas W Scharre, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University