Anaesthetic leaves man thinking he has dental appointment every day

Trip to dentist leaves man with a 90 minute memory

After Medical Procedure, Man Thinks He Has Dental Appointment Everyday
Going to the dentist is an unpleasant experience for many, but for one man a routine visit turned into a medical mystery.

For the past 10 years, a 48-year-old British man known only as William has been waking up every day thinking that it is March 14th, 2005, he's living in Germany, and he has a dentist appointment to get to.

On that day, he underwent a standard root canal during a military deployment overseas. The last thing he remembers is receiving a local anaesthetic before the procedure, after which observers noted that he woke up in a mentally declined state.

Though he is able to recall events prior to that moment, he can only retain new memories for 90 minutes before they are forgotten.

This is an improvement, as he was only able to remember 10 minute periods shortly after the incident occurred.

Doctors puzzled

Doctors still do not know why his brain continues to malfunction, as scans show no signs of damage. One of the theories that has gained traction involves faulty protein synthesis in his memory centre.

His doctor, Gerald Burgess from the University of Leicester, has now published the patient's case study - and its similarities to four other cases - in an attempt to learn more about the unusual condition.

William's symptoms are similar to patients suffering from as anterograde amnesia. This is when damage to the bilateral hippocampal or diencephalon regions in the brain cause short spans of awareness and complete and rapid memory loss.