The case of Hiroshi Sekine is beyond the ordinary for three reasons:
1. he was observed for three years by the Japanese director Hirokatzu Koreeda, who narrated his life from 1994 to 1996 in the documentary Without Memory (1996, 84 minutes);
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2. we can follow the everyday life and the thoughts of an amnesiac about his condition;
3. highlights the devastating effects of the severe cuts to the Japanese National Health System and the responsibilities of physicians.
The film begins with an mri scan: the brain of Sekine after a severe thiamine deficiency resulting in lesions to the thalamus and the mammillary bodies.
"As we live our lives, memories of experiences painful and pleasant accumulate in our brains. These memories are fundamental to our individual identities".
Hiroshi Sekine presented the three symptoms of the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome:
- ophthalmoplegia (abnormal eye movements);
- ataxia (movement disorder with loss of muscle coordination);
- severe anterograde amnesia (inability to learn new information and to create new memories) and mild retrograde amnesia (loss of past memories related to events that occurred 6-7 years before the encephalopathy).
There are 30 years of hystory inside me.
I know this is a strange question, but is this reality?
For more details see the Italian version: “Devo ammettere che vivo momento per momento”. Uno straordinario caso di encefalopatia di Wernicke iatrogena.