Transient global amnesia. What's in a name?

      Over 3 decades ago, before MRI scanning was readily availble, I identified rather simple criteria for the diagnosis of Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) in a letter to the editor [
      • Caplan L.R.
      Transient global amnesia: criteria and classification.
      ]. (1) The attack onset should have been witnessed. (2) Dysfunction during the attack should have been limited to repetitive queries and amnesia. (3) There should have been no other major neurologic signs or symptoms. (4) The memory loss should have been transient, usually lasting hours or up to one day. Before then I had reviewed >500 published cases of TGA for the Handbook of Neurology [
      • Caplan L.
      Transient global amnesia.
      ] and seen many patients with amnesia. Four years later Hodges and Warlow elaborated a bit on my criteria [
      • Hodges J.R.
      • Warlow C.P.
      Syndromes of transient amnesia: towards a classification. A study of 153 cases.
      ]. These criteria are noted in the present review and the reference is cited. My purpose in creating criteria was to characterize an entity that was benign and required no advanced imaging or prophylactic treatment. All the patients who met all of these criteria that I had seen or reviewed had not had strokes. None developed strokes in the ensuing follow-up periods. None had serious neurological conditions such as tumors, epilepsy, or degenerative conditions.


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