Limerick doctors recall how pensioner lost memory after day-time sex

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DOCTORS at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) have highlighted the case of a pensioner turned up at a hospital’s emergency department with short-term memory loss brought about by daytime sex with his wife.

In a medical journal report, the doctors outline the case of a 66 year-old man suffered from sudden onset amnesia or Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) within ten minutes of having sex.

It was the second time that this happened to the man.

In the paper published in the May edition of the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ), the medics at Department of Neurology at UHL state that the case highlights sexual intercourse as a trigger of recurrent Transient Global Amnesia.

Outlining the details, they recount how the man endured one hour of amnesia before presenting himself at the UHL emergency department one afternoon.

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The medics state that “on the afternoon presentation, he had engaged in sexual intercourse ten minutes before the onset of memory disturbance”.

“After seeing the date on his phone, he became distressed that he had forgotten his wedding anniversary the day before.

“He had, in fact, celebrated his wedding anniversary with his wife and family the previous day. His autobiographical memory remained intact, but he had no memory of that morning or the celebrations the night before”.

The medics stated that “the man repetitively questioned his wife and daughter over the events of that morning and the previous day”.

The paper states that “no other neurological symptoms were reported and, on arrival to the emergency department, his neurological examination was completely normal”.

The amnesia episode suffered by the man followed a similar hospital presentation seven years earlier and, according to the medics, that amnesia event also came within ten minutes of sexual intercourse.

The medics describe that the earlier amnesia event came “with an identical postcoital onset”.

The man’s medical history was significant for hypertension, gout and hyper-cholesterolemia.

The medics stated that the case highlights the importance of early MRI to identify changes in the mescal temporal lobes in the brain.

In their paper entitled ‘Recurrent Postcoital Transient Amnesia Associated with Diffusion Restriction’ they explained that TGA is a syndrome of sudden onset amnesia that can last up to 24 hours.

“TGA can present a diagnostic challenge as its mechanism is poorly understood and it has many potential mimics.

“The precipitation of TGA has been linked with several activities including physical exertion, immersion in hot or cold water, emotional stress, pain and sexual intercourse.

They added that TGA usually occurs in people between 50 and 70 years or age, often in isolation as a once-off event, but studies report an annual recurrence rate of between six and ten per cent.