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There is a man with a short term memory of only 30 seconds.

There is a man with a short term memory of only 30 seconds.
His name is Clive Wearing, and he suffers from anterograde amnesia, meaning he can’t create new memories, as well as retrograde amnesia, meaning he’s lost his memories. Before his amnesia came, he was a musicologist, conductor, tenor, and keyboardist. 

It all started nearly thirty years ago. On March 27, 1985, Wearing contracted Herpesviral encephalities, a Herpes virus that attacks the nervous system. The effects of the illness were so great that he lost his ability to store new memories. His hippocampus is so damaged that he cannot transfer memories from short term to long term, and thus can’t form any new memories.

According to his wife, his memory lasts between 7 and 30 seconds. Every day, he feels that he’s “waking up” several times a minute, as his consciousness is essentially rebooting. His memories from his life before 1985 are very few. He knows that he has children and loves his wife, but that’s basically it.

He’s lost so much of his memory that he can’t even remember what foods taste like. Fortunately, because his muscle memory was not damaged, he can still play the piano perfectly.


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