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Amnesia is a term which has traditionally been used to describe any severe memory impairment or deficit. Use in this sense is problematical with evolving understanding of memory and most use now is in the sense of a memory impairment that is not due to dementia or delirium. Specifically in this sense amnesia requires a decline from a previously attained functional level. Such a decline can relate to structural or functional causes or both.

A number of terms have specific meanings and are therefore detailed[1]:


  1. Markowitsch HJ, Staniloiu A. Amnesic disorders. Lancet. 2012 Apr 12.(Epub ahead of print) (Link to article – subscription may be required.)