(Medical Xpress) -- The term mind-blowing has been used to describe great sexual encounters for many generations, but for one 54-year-old woman, sex with her husband really was mind-blowing.
A new case study published by Dr. Kevin Maloy and Dr. Jonathan Davis in the Journal of Emergency Medicine describes a 54-year-old patient that was brought into the emergency room at Georgetown University Hospital with memory loss after a sexual encounter with her husband. She complained that she could not remember anything that happened in the 24 hours before she reached sexual climax.
Doctors Maloy and Davis diagnosed the woman with what is known as transient global amnesia, or TGA. TGA is a condition that causes a sudden onset of confusion or memory loss. Patients will become disorientated in regards to time, but the memory of general information such as their name, family members and other information is not lost. It is usually a short term condition and most people will only experience one episode of memory loss, though it can reoccur in five to 25 percent of people.
TGA scrambles the memory circuits in the brain and are most often brought on by emotional or physical triggers, though the exact cause is unknown. The condition affects three to five out of 100,000 people each year and patients over the age of 50 are more likely to experience this memory loss.
Some research has shown that this form of amnesia is not as much associated with the brain as it is with the neck. A 2010 study published in the journal Stroke linked the occurrences of TGA to an insufficiency of the valves in the jugular vein causing blood to possibly seep back upward into the head. Their best guess was that patients increase pressure inside their abdomen which in turn increases the resistance of blood flowing from the jugular veins. If insufficient valves are present, deoxygenated blood may be pushed back into the head.
While this may offer a possible explanation, it still does not explain why a patient usually only experiences one episode in their lifetime. The fact that it usually only happens once in a lifetime also reduces the chances of having mind-blowing sex every night with your partner. While it may be good, true mind-blowing sex, like this patient experienced, happening on multiple occasions is not very likely.
More information: Forgettable Sex: A Case of Transient Global Amnesia Presenting to the Emergency Department, The Journal of Emergency Medicine, Volume 41, Issue 3 , Pages 257-260, September 2011.
Background: Transient global amnesia is characterized by the sudden development of dense anterograde amnesia, without alteration in level of consciousness and in the absence of focal neurologic deficits or seizure activity. Various precipitating causes have been reported in the medical literature. Objective: To present a literature-guided approach to the diagnosis and management of transient global amnesia in the Emergency Department (ED). Case Report: We report the case of a 54-year-old woman who presented to the ED with an episode of acute memory loss. Conclusions: Although rare, transient global amnesia may present in a dramatic fashion. The occurrence of a distinct precipitating event and repetitive questioning seem to be key features in making the diagnosis. Important differential considerations include transient ischemic attack, seizure, and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Brain imaging and specialty consultation are reserved primarily for patients with unclear circumstances, altered level of consciousness, focal neurologic findings, and persistent (or very brief) amnestic symptoms. Brain imaging may, however, relieve anxiety about more dangerous causes of the event.