There are numerous causes of amnesia, including stroke, injury to the brain, surgery, alcoholism, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, a treatment for various mental disorders in which electricity is sent to the brain through electrodes).

Contrary to the popular notion of amnesia—in which a person suffers a severe blow to the head, for example, and cannot recall his or her past life and experiences— the principal symptom of amnesia is the inability to retain new information, beginning at the point at which the

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