Can a sudden memory flashback be a symptom of a TIA?

Leal asked...

Recently my doctor determined I had a series of TIAs. I was only "aware" of one. She mentioned others might have happened while asleep. The question is for some time, even before the one I was aware of, I have been having what I can only describe as "flashback" incidents. Like something long forgotten suddenly jumps into my mind, only to disappear just as quickly. It happens mostly when I'm relaxed or even driving for some distance. I don't think it's much of a problem, but wonder if is normal, or if other people have such things happen to them? Is it even related to TIA? Or is my aged brain just going to heck?

I have never been in serious accident nor in armed service, so I don't think of anything that could be described as some of the accident/service related flash backs one hears about.

Expert Answer

James Castle, M.D. is a neurologist at NorthShore University HealthSystem (affiliated with The University of Chicago) and an expert on strokes.

I am bit concerned that what you are describing are actually small seizures, not TIAs. It is atypical for TIAs to recur so frequently, be associated with memory loss for the event, or to be associated with "flashbacks". It sounds more likely to me that you are having small seizures.

Seizures are actually fairly common in the elderly. I would make sure you see a Neurologist (or get a second opinion from another Neurologist if you have already see a Neurologist who diagnosed you with "TIA"s). Seizures and TIAs are diangosed and treated very differently. Usually, seizures are much easier to control than recurrent TIAs. Also, I would recommend checking with your doctor right away to see if you are safe to drive with these episodes. From the sound of it, you should stop driving until these episodes are better diagnosed and treated.

I hope that helps. Good luck!