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Memory-loss cause #7: Concussion/head injury

8 Causes of Memory Loss That AREN'T Alzheimer's: Page 7

By , Caring.com contributing editor
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Why it happens: It's little surprise that, although the brain is protected by a thick skull, brain tissue is vulnerable to trauma. Traumatic brain injury (TMI) can be caused by the brain tissue slamming into the skull itself during a fall or sharp blow, or by an object piercing the skull -- a more obvious explanation for memory loss. The force of impact can cause direct damage or bleeding that causes more widespread problems.

What else to look for:

  • Have the cognitive problems come on suddenly? Alzheimer's disease develops slowly, but memory loss from head trauma can trace to the single incident.

  • Are there other signs of brain injury? These include numbness, excessive drowsiness, severe headache, weakness in arms or limbs, dizziness, dilated pupils, and slurred speech.

  • Do you participate in contact sports? Sometimes athletes suffer concussions in knocks and falls they consider mundane.

  • Has there been a recent car, bicycle, or motorcycle accident? These are among the most common situations for head injuries, especially if the person wasn't wearing a seatbelt (car) or helmet (cycle).