Man Experiences “Groundhog Day” Symptoms After Dental Visit

Groundhog Day Movie Poster

Most of the stuff I share on this blog is pertinent to the field of dentistry, but once in a while I like to share stories I come across that are only mildly related to dentistry, but highly entertaining to me. This one is in that category. It comes from a story that broke back in June of this year.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to experience short term memory loss each day? You’ve probably seen movies like Groundhog Day, 50 First Dates, or Memento and thought about this, but according to a University of Leicester (in the UK) psychologist, a real life person under his care has experienced this very thing for the past decade!

A 38-year-old fit, healthy man went to his dentist to get a root canal under local anesthesia (a “numbing shot”). When the procedure was completed, he lost the ability to hold onto new memories for more than 90 minutes. The man is fully aware of his identity and his personality was left untouched, but since the one hour procedure, he wakes up every morning thinking he has a dental appointment.

Now before you jump to conclusions about the dentist, realize that these kinds of side effects are unprecedented for any kind of dental treatment, to say the least. After many tests and a lot of analysis, experts have concluded that this rare anterograde amnesia case has nothing to do with the root canal or local anesthetics, but they are still baffled as to how the condition might have started.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/07/16/the-baffling-medical-mystery-of-how-a-mans-trip-to-the-dentist-inexplicably-cost-him-his-memory/

-Nicolas K. Young, DMD