Interview with man who has no short-term memory (video)

The BBC interviews Clive Wearing, a man with no short-term memory, who can only remember things for 7 to 30 seconds.


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  • 1jetpackangel

    Back in my psychology class we learned about a guy known as H.M. ( who had specific parts of his brain removed in an attempt to cure his epilepsy. Well, it did do that, but he also completely lost the ability to convert short term to long term memory, although he DID learn to play tennis, which suggests that procedural memory, or “muscle memory,” is a different process.

    I love how every time Clive sees his wife, you can see the light bulb go off in his head, “Oh thank God it’s someone I know!” It’s sweet. My hat’s off to the wonderful lady for staying with him.

  • emjayay

    Maybe he should get a dog. Just a regular one or a trained service tog to help him with whatever whould help.

  • emjayay

    That sort of remembering long past events in detail while forgetting more recent stuff is very common in elderly people. And those far past events can become really important, like they were then when the person was in high school or whenever. Various causes may make for similar outcomes.

  • Alejandro Cacheiro

    That weirdest thing, lol

    Remedios caseros para la tos

  • FUFatherEisenman

    Well, if there were such a thing as a saint, his wife would definitely qualify for one.

  • Robb Silverberg

    very terrible affliction , but anyone find it ironic that there’s an ad for Luminosity right above the video ?? ( or is that only on my feed ?? ) … lol

  • ArthurH

    An old fellow in my neighborhood had the same problem. His memory losses started after he had a stroke while shoveling snow. Before the incident, he had detailed memory. He could relate in detail an incident that happened to him in 1933. He could sing songs popular when he and his wife first dated. But he couldn’t remember what he had for lunch or why his son took away his car. Bad problem. But he was still a great guy to know and visit.

  • Hue-Man

    The Sacks article which conveys the complexity of his situation – he retained much of his world-class musical expertise and was able to learn new musical scores – comes across as oddly positive. Around 1990, Wearing said: “Can you imagine one night five years long? No dreaming, no waking, no touch, no taste, no smell, no sight, no sound, no hearing, nothing at
    all. It’s like being dead. I came to the conclusion that I was dead.”

    And Sacks summarizes around 2007: “…he can shave, shower, look after his grooming, and dress elegantly, with taste and style; he moves confidently and is fond of dancing. He talks abundantly, using a large vocabulary; he can read and write in several languages. He is good at calculation. He can make phone calls, and he can find the coffee things and find his way about the home.”

    After nearly 30 years since his illness struck, I wonder how much of his waking time is spent getting on with life and how much is spent in the terror and depression of not remembering what he’s lost.

  • pappyvet

    Here,here. I think of my deep feeling of responsibility and care for my partner and how terrible the blow would be to live in this man’s shoes.

  • pappyvet

    What a terrible fate.

  • Jim Olson

    Poor old bodger. How terrible for him, and for his wife and family.

  • KarenJ

    At least he’s able to converse and make sense, in the moment. But his conversation, such as it is, reminds me so much of that of my late husband, who suffered from Alzheimers.

    I remember when we first realized my husband’s memory was slipping, that I had to repeat informational sentences to him after what I thought was an inordinately short period of time. I feel for Mrs. Wearing. Her conversations with her husband must be frustrating for her at times.

  • At least he remembers his wife, a small spot of positivity in an otherwise bleak and anchorless existence.

  • Thom Allen

    Brilliant British neurologist and author, Oliver Sacks, wrote about Wearing. It’s a very sad story.

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