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“When the music stops he falls back into this abyss”

Some reflections for Thanksgiving: most of us make jokes about our flagging memories, but this is something to put almost all of that in perspective.

Scientists are trying to understand how amnesiacs can lose all memory of their past life – and yet remember music. The answer may be that musical memories are stored in a special part of the brain.

When British conductor and musician Clive Wearing contracted a brain infection in 1985 he was left with a memory span of only 10 seconds.

The infection – herpes encephalitis – left him unable to recognise people he had seen or remember things that had been said just moments earlier.

But despite being acknowledged by doctors as having one of the most severe cases of amnesia ever, his musical ability and much of his musical memory was intact.

Read the rest of the article here. Credit: BBC. Hat tip: Ann Althouse.

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