Opioid-induced amnesia pops on MRI, shocking even experts

Add this to the list of pathologies caused or occasioned by the opioid epidemic: memory loss so severe it glows on MRI.

BuzzFeed has the story, focusing on one of a cluster of cases in Massachusetts in which patients have presented with damaged hippocampi, an inability to form new memories and a history of opioid or heroin use.

Lahey Clinic neurologist Yuval Zabar, MD, “could make out the gray, jello-like silhouettes of various brain regions. But clustered near the center were two glowing orbs of white,” writes science reporter Azeen Ghorayshi.  

“Zabar was shocked. The spots were perfectly localized, on each side of the brain, to the hippocampus, the seahorse-shaped region that encodes new memories. In his 20 years of treating patients with neurological problems, Zabar said, he had never seen anything like it.”

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