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How does a brain injury affect the 3 types of memory?

Having a disability such as brain injury is difficult at best. Most people don't realize that a slip-and-fall can cause you problems with three types of memory: short-term, immediate memory and long-term memory. People generally tend to lump all three together and say that a person has either "good" or "bad" memory.

Immediate memory is the ability that you have to store information for a short time, sometimes just a few minutes, and then let it go after you don't need it anymore. For example, if you call directory assistance and ask for a phone number, your immediate memory will help you remember this number until you have dialed it. Most people who suffer brain injury don't have any type of problem with immediate memory. It is their short-term memory that suffers.

Short-term memory is a thought that you keep in your head for about 30 minutes. If your spouse tells you to please go to the store and get eggs, milk, bread and a newspaper, you immediately remember what she or he said. But by the time you get to the store all you remember are the eggs. In people who have suffered from head injury this can be a very significant problem. There are coping tools but, more importantly, how can you hold down a job if you can't remember things past three minutes? No amount of sticky-notes will help you.

Long-term memory is information we can recall after a day, a week a month, a year or longer. For brain-injured people they can tell you what happened 10 years ago, they just can't tell you what happened 10 minutes ago. When you suffer an injury to your brain, it is hard to transfer memories from short-term to long-term. Time is literally flying by for them because they can't remember the events of the day.

If you have suffered a debilitating injury to your brain, there may be things that you want to discuss with a loved one who can help tell your story to an attorney. Perhaps there is some sort of recompense from the injury. Lost wages and medical bills can add up.

Source: tbiguide.com, "Memory," accessed Sep. 01, 2015

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