The sudden loss of memory, called “transient global amnesia” or TGA, is caused by pressure in blood vessels in the brain, and can be triggered by strenuous activities, bowel movements, or – commonly – sex.
The 59-year-old woman, known only as Alice, had the worrying experience after she and her husband Scott had sex last August. She suddenly, albeit temporarily, lost all memory of the last several years and the ability to form new memories.
After sex they turned on the television, which was showing the Beijing Olympics, and she asked: “Is there an Olympics?”
Scott told CNN: “I saw that something was wrong, so I asked her, ‘OK, what day is it?'”
When she couldn’t answer, he asked her to name the current President, to which she replied: “Bill Clinton.” Scott called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital, where it was initially thought she may have had a stroke.
However, neurologists were soon able to diagnose TGA, a relatively common experience in the over-50s.
Dr Louis Caplan, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, said: “[Sex] is actually a well-known precipitator.”
In a related study, numerous husbands have claimed amnesia after calling out the wrong name during intercourse. There was also a subsequent inability to form new memories, but this phenomenon may be the result of being hit upside the head by a bedroom lamp.
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