Why do brain injuries impact memory?

After suffering from a brain injury, you may find that your memory is not what it used to be. You could struggle to recall things that just happened. You might have trouble remembering appointments or obligations.

Unfortunately, brain injuries have a big impact on memory. It can last anywhere from days to years and it is hard to predict the degree of severity you may suffer from.

Short term memory storage and transfer

The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center discusses how the brain stores memory. The frontal lobe stores short term memory in durations of 15 to 30 seconds. After that, it transfers to the medial temporal lobe where the brain translates it into long term memory. Long term memories can get stored in multiple areas across the brain.

Brain damage equates to memory damage

The frontal and medial temporal lobes often suffer damage upon impact with a head or brain injury. For example, you may struggle to remember some or all of the events during your accident. This may happen as a traumatic response in which your body intentionally blocks out the memory. But it might have also been a result of the impact to your frontal lobe. Suffering a hit, it may not have stored the short term memories of the accident.

It is less common for victims to struggle with long term memory loss, such as forgetting a loved one’s face or where they live. It does still happen, though. More commonly, you will experience trouble shifting short term to long term memory. For example, you may forget where you put your keys. You could forget to pick up medication. You could even forget crucial information for work.

This can interfere with daily life to a moderate or severe degree. You may wish to seek a professional medical opinion on how to move forward with your recovery.