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Losing short-term memory

People with amnesia gave doctors the first clues that the hippocampus is vital for converting short-term memories into long-term ones. People who have a damaged hippocampus, or whose hippocampus was removed to relieve epilepsy, keep their earlier memories, but cannot lay down new ones. A person with this sort of amnesia would not forget that New Year's Eve is 31 December, but would have no memory of the last New Year's Eve party they went to.

Some types of amnesia prevent a person from laying down new memories.
Some types of amnesia prevent a person from laying down new memories.
Corbis

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