Are Opioids Behind a Cluster of Unusual Amnesia Cases?

A neurologist in Massachusetts noticed the pattern about a year ago. He had seen four patients come in with amnesia—three who tested positive for opioids (heroin or prescription painkillers) and a fourth with a history of heroin use. Memory loss from drug use is not unusual, but when he peered inside their brains with a MRI scan, he saw something really strange.

All four patients had the same problem: Little or no blood was flowing to their hippocampi, two slivers of tissue deep in brain,...

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