Amnesia (from Greek ἀμνησία, "ἀ" meaning "without", "μνησία" memory) is a deficit in memory caused by brain damage, disease, or psychological trauma. Amnesia can also be caused temporarily by the use of various sedatives and hypnotic drugs. Essentially, amnesia is loss of memory. The memory can be either wholly or partially lost due to the extent of damage that was caused. There are two main types of amnesia: retrograde amnesia and anterograde amnesia. Retrograde amnesia is the inability to retrieve information that was acquired before a particular date, usually the date of an accident or operation. In some cases the memory loss can extend back decades, while in others the person may lose only a few months of memory. Anterograde amnesia is the inability to transfer new information from the short-term store into the long-term store. People with this type of amnesia cannot remember things for long periods of time. These two types are not mutually exclusive. Both can occur within a patient at one time. Case studies, such as that of patient R.B., show that both types of amnesia can occur simultaneously. Case studies also show that amnesia is typically associated with damage to the medial temporal lobe. In addition, specific areas of the hippocampus (the CA1 region) are involved with memory. Research has also shown that when areas of the diencephalon are damaged, amnesia can occur.
In people suffering with amnesia the ability to recall immediate information is still retained,]full citation needed[ and they may still be able to form new memories. However, a severe reduction in the ability to learn new material and retrieve old information can be observed. Patients can learn new procedural knowledge. In addition, priming (both perceptual and conceptual) can assist amnesiacs in the learning of fresh non-declarative knowledge. Amnesic patients also retain substantial intellectual, linguistic, and social skill despite profound impairments in the ability to recall specific information encountered in prior learning episodes.
Short-term memory (or "primary" or "active memory") is the capacity for holding a small amount of information in mind in an active, readily available state for a short period of time. The duration of short-term memory (when rehearsal or active maintenance is prevented) is believed to be in the order of seconds. A commonly cited capacity is 7 ± 2 elements. In contrast, long-term memory can hold an indefinite amount of information.
Short-term memory should be distinguished from working memory, which refers to structures and processes used for temporarily storing and manipulating information (see details below).
Neuropsychological assessment was traditionally carried out to assess the extent of impairment to a particular skill and to attempt to determine the area of the brain which may have been damaged following brain injury or neurological illness. With the advent of neuroimaging techniques, location of space-occupying lesions can now be more accurately determined through this method, so the focus has now moved on to the assessment of cognition and behaviour, including examining the effects of any brain injury or neuropathological process that a person may have experienced.
A core part of neuropsychological assessment is the administration of neuropsychological tests for the formal assessment of cognitive function, though neuropsychological testing is more than the administration and scoring of tests and screening tools. It is essential that neuropsychological assessment also include an evaluation of the person's mental status. This is especially true in assessment of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Aspects of cognitive functioning that are assessed typically include orientation, new-learning/memory, intelligence, language, visuoperception, and executive function. However, clinical neuropsychological assessment is more than this and also focuses on a person's psychological, personal, interpersonal and wider contextual circumstances.
Science of drugs including their origin, composition, pharmacokinetics,
pharmacodynamics, therapeutic use, and toxicology.
Pharmacology (from Greek φάρμακον, pharmakon, "poison" in classic Greek; "drug" in modern Greek; and -λογία, -logia "study of", "knowledge of") is the branch of medicine and biology concerned with the study of drug action, where a drug can be broadly defined as any man-made, natural, or endogenous (within the body) molecule which exerts a biochemical and/or physiological effect on the cell, tissue, organ, or organism. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. If substances have medicinal properties, they are considered pharmaceuticals.