Most people with amnesia have problems with short-term memory — they can't retain new information. Recent memories are most likely to be lost, while more remote or deeply ingrained memories may be spared. Someone may recall experiences from childhood or know the names of past presidents, but not be able to name the current president or remember what month it is or what was for breakfast.
There are two distinct types of amnesia, each displaying specific symptoms.
The loss of long-term memory, or the loss of the ability to form new long-term memories or memorize things. People suffering from Anterograde Amnesia may find themselves unable to remember facts or people's names just a few minutes after hearing them because the memories do not successfully transfer from their conscious short-term memory into permanent long-term memory.
Transient global amnesia usually affects patients between the ages of 40 and 80. Patients with this condition are often described – wrongly – as being confused. It presents classically with an abrupt onset of severe anterograde amnesia. It is usually accompanied by repetitive questioning. The patient does not have any focal neurological symptoms. Patients remain alert, attentive, and cognition is not impaired. However, they are disoriented to time and place. Attacks usually last for 1–8 h but should be less than 24 h.