Posted inScience

A Real-Life “Ten Second Tom”

Remember Ten Second Tom from the movie 50 First Dates? The character was an amnesiac who could only keep events in short term memory for about ten seconds at a time.

Although Tom was a very funny character, reality isn’t nearly as amusing. Today, New Yorker Magazine published an article about a real-life case even worse than Ten Second Tom…

In March of 1985, Clive Wearing, an eminent English musician and musicologist in his mid-forties, was struck by a brain infection – a herpes encephalitis – affecting especially the parts of his brain concerned with memory. He was left with a memory span of only seconds – the most devastating case of amnesia ever recorded.

Although Ten Second Tom was very funny in the movie, Clive’s reality sounds absolutely terrifying.