Hadassah

New Research at Hadassah: Computational Tools Unravel the Mystery of Transient Amnesia

Tuesday, Dec 16 2014

Hadassah Medical Organization researchers have identified what happens physiologically during transient global amnesia (TGA), an episodic, rapid-onset amnesia that is characterized by a person’s impaired ability to retrieve and create newer memories, along with temporal disorientation and repetitive questioning that lasts up to 24 hours. The study findings were published in the May issue of the prestigious journal, Annals of Neurology (Volume 75, pages 634-643) and highlighted on the cover.

Although the occurrence of TGA has been known for more than 50 years, despite extensive research, it has been among the most enigmatic phenomena in neurology. There has been no clear evidence for its underlying pathophysiological basis and no imaging that could evaluate TGA in real time. Hadassah’s researchers, however, were able to record brain function of 12 TGA patients, using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RSfMRI) and conduct connectivity and cluster analyses to detect changes in the episodic memory network during TGA.

During a TGA attack, patients are alert and communicative and know who they are. However, their memory is significantly impaired, their disorientation in time is severe, and they engage in repeated questioning about their situation. The Hadassah study results revealed that functional connectivity within the episodic memory network was disturbed bilaterally most severely during the hyper-acute phase of TGA. The connectivity disturbances were specific to the episodic memory network, as no other network was disturbed. Consequently, the method developed in this study may serve for diagnosis of amnesia in real time.

“Our Computational Neuropsychiatry Laboratory,” says Hadassah Neurology Researcher Dr. Shahar Arzy, “is unique as it brings together highest level students and researchers with a strong background in computer science and physics, who work directly on patients’ data to better understand neuropsychiatric disorder and develop tools that facilitate diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Michael Peer, the PhD student who performed the current work and is a winner of the prestigious Eshkol Stipend, is an excellent example, combining highest computational ability, neuroscientific insight, and clinical dedication. The combination at Hadassah of an excellent and devoted neuroradiology team and the unique ability to apply cutting-edge science within the clinic is a precious winning situation.”

“Dr. Arzy, lead researcher of this study, is a specialist at Hadassah’s Neuropsychiatric Clinic and Epilepsy Center, as well as Director of the Computational Neuropsychiatric Laboratory at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine. Putting the research in broader perspective, he explains: “The notion of ‘brain centers’ that govern cognitive activity does not hold anymore, since we now understand the brain as a network of computational units, somewhat similar to the Internet. Neuropsychiatric disorders may emerge out of a disturbance in the coherent network activity. Likewise, our results are not only important for amnesia, but the work will be carried on to better understand and further treat other network-related neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, dissociation, and depression. The unique combination of clinics and science at Hadassah and the brilliant team at our lab will surely make this possible.”

Comments

Related Stories

alt_text

Monday, Dec 10 2018

A Nurses Council Celebration in Israel: The Milestone Mission

We were honored to meet so many dynamic Hadassah nurses, some longtime and some new members--all of us excited to be together to celebrate the 100th anniversaries of the Hadassah Medical Organization, the Henrietta Szold Hadasssah-Hebrew University Nursing School and HMO's Department of Ophthalmology. And Israel's 70th

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Dec 5 2018

Prof. Chowers’ Long and Meaningful Hadassah Connections

Sophie Szold, mother of Hadassah founder Henrietta, wept when she saw children with flies in their eyes on their maiden trip to pre-state Israel in 1909. Those children had trachoma, endemic in the Middle East in those days.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Wednesday, Dec 5 2018

Ending the Violence Against Women: Hadassah Staff Joins Nationwide Protests

On December 4, employees from both Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus rallied to end violence against women. “Together we will banish the darkness and return the light to all women,” read banners held by the participants.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Tuesday, Dec 4 2018

No Ovaries? Mystery Solved By Hadassah Endocrinologist

A few years ago, a mother brought her teenage daughter to see Prof. David Zangen, Director of Pediatric Endocrinology at the Hadassah Medical Organization.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More