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Voice of America, In the Mind of an Amnesiac, It Seems the Future May Suffer, Too

In the Mind of an Amnesiac, It Seems the Future May Suffer, Too

This is the VOA Special English Health Report.

Amnesia is a loss of memory. But scientists in Britain have found that it can mean a loss of imagination as well.

They asked amnesia patients in a study to imagine new experiences and then describe them. The researchers say the patients could not describe what they saw in their minds to the same extent as people without memory loss.

Eleanor Maguire at the Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging at University College London was a leader of the study. She says it shows amnesiacs as people trapped in the present. They cannot look back at their past nor ahead to what the future might look like.

The five amnesiacs in the study all had serious damage to the hippocampus. This part of the brain is believed to process experiences into memories. But scientists disagree about the extent to which it also stores memories.

All five amnesiacs were men. They were compared with a control group of ten men who had no injury to their hippocampus.

The researchers asked all of the men in the study to imagine themselves in different situations. For example, they were asked to picture themselves on a sandy beach along a tropical coast -- or in a museum with lots to see.

The men in the control group gave descriptions rich in detail. One man described the heat of the sun on the beach, an old fishing boat on the water and big brown rocks. He described how to his left the beach curved around and became a point with wooden buildings on it. And his description continued.

But the amnesiacs were far more basic in what they saw. One said he could not see anything except the blue of the sky. He could hear seagulls and feel the sand. But when asked if he was seeing this in his mind's eye, he answered: "No, the only thing I can see is blue." The scientists rated answers based on spatial references -- where objects were described in relation to each other. They also rated answers for any descriptions of people or animals, for sensory descriptions and for emotions or actions.

The control group rated higher in all areas. The amnesiacs rated lower especially in terms of spatial references and emotions. The findings could show that the hippocampus has more to do with imagination and memories than scientists may have ever imagined.

The findings appear in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in the United States. And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. I'm Mario Ritter.


In the Mind of an Amnesiac, It Seems the Future May Suffer, Too In the Mind of an Amnesiac, It Seems the Future May Suffer, Too 記憶喪失の心の中で、それは未来も苦しむかもしれないようです

This is the VOA Special English Health Report. これはVOAスペシャルイングリッシュヘルスレポートです。

Amnesia is a loss of memory. 健忘症は記憶喪失です。 But scientists in Britain have found that it can mean a loss of imagination as well. しかし、英国の科学者たちは、それが想像力の喪失を意味する可能性があることも発見しました。

They asked amnesia patients in a study to imagine new experiences and then describe them. 彼らは、ある研究で健忘症の患者に新しい経験を想像し、それを説明するように依頼しました。 The researchers say the patients could not describe what they saw in their minds to the same extent as people without memory loss. 研究者たちは、患者が記憶喪失のない人々と同じ程度に彼らが彼らの心の中で見たものを説明することができなかったと言います。

Eleanor Maguire at the Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging at University College London was a leader of the study. ユニバーシティカレッジロンドンのニューロイメージングのためのウェルカムトラストセンターのエレノアマグアイアは、研究のリーダーでした。 She says it shows amnesiacs as people trapped in the present. 彼女はそれが現在に閉じ込められた人々として記憶喪失を示していると言います。 They cannot look back at their past nor ahead to what the future might look like. 彼らは自分たちの過去を振り返ることも、未来がどのようになるかを先取りすることもできません。

The five amnesiacs in the study all had serious damage to the hippocampus. この研究の5人の健忘症患者はすべて海馬に深刻な損傷を及ぼしました。 This part of the brain is believed to process experiences into memories. 脳のこの部分は、経験を記憶に処理すると考えられています。 But scientists disagree about the extent to which it also stores memories. しかし、科学者たちは、それが記憶をどの程度保存するかについても意見が分かれています。

All five amnesiacs were men. 5人の健忘症はすべて男性でした。 They were compared with a control group of ten men who had no injury to their hippocampus. 彼らは、海馬に損傷を与えていない10人の男性の対照群と比較されました。

The researchers asked all of the men in the study to imagine themselves in different situations. 研究者たちは、研究に参加したすべての男性に、さまざまな状況で自分自身を想像するように依頼しました。 For example, they were asked to picture themselves on a sandy beach along a tropical coast -- or in a museum with lots to see. たとえば、熱帯の海岸沿いの砂浜で、または見どころがたくさんある美術館で、自分たちの写真を撮るように求められました。

The men in the control group gave descriptions rich in detail. 対照群の男性は、詳細に豊富な説明をしました。 One man described the heat of the sun on the beach, an old fishing boat on the water and big brown rocks. ある男性は、浜辺の太陽の熱、水上にある古い漁船、大きな茶色の岩について説明しました。 He described how to his left the beach curved around and became a point with wooden buildings on it. 彼は、ビーチを左に曲がって、木造の建物がその上にあるポイントになった方法を説明しました。 And his description continued. そして彼の説明は続いた。

But the amnesiacs were far more basic in what they saw. しかし、記憶喪失症は彼らが見たものにおいてはるかに基本的でした。 One said he could not see anything except the blue of the sky. ある人は、空の青以外は何も見えなかったと言いました。 He could hear seagulls and feel the sand. 彼はカモメの声を聞き、砂を感じることができました。 But when asked if he was seeing this in his mind's eye, he answered: "No, the only thing I can see is blue." しかし、これを頭の中で見ているかどうか尋ねられたとき、彼は「いいえ、私が見ることができるのは青だけです」と答えました。 The scientists rated answers based on spatial references -- where objects were described in relation to each other. 科学者は、空間参照に基づいて回答を評価しました。オブジェクトは相互に関連して記述されていました。 They also rated answers for any descriptions of people or animals, for sensory descriptions and for emotions or actions. 彼らはまた、人や動物の説明、感覚の説明、感情や行動についての回答を評価しました。

The control group rated higher in all areas. 対照群はすべての分野でより高い評価を受けました。 The amnesiacs rated lower especially in terms of spatial references and emotions. 健忘症は、特に空間的な参照と感情の点で低く評価されました。 The findings could show that the hippocampus has more to do with imagination and memories than scientists may have ever imagined. 調査結果は、海馬が科学者がこれまで想像したよりも想像力と記憶に関係していることを示している可能性があります。

The findings appear in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in the United States. 調査結果は、米国の国立科学アカデミーの今週の議事録に表示されます。 And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. そして、それはCatyWeaverによって書かれたVOASpecial EnglishHealthReportです。 I'm Mario Ritter. マリオ・リッターです。