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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2011

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 6(2)


Peer Editor: Angela Senne; Faculty Mentor: Carl Craver

The case of Franz Breundl, a man who suffered from anterograde amnesia and a severe impairment of working memory is discussed in this work. After exposure to carbon monoxide fumes, Breundl could remember nothing for more than two seconds – a condition that is, as far we know, unprecedented in the literature. Gustav Störring and Ernst Grünthal originally documented the case in 1931, and the ensuing debate about its authenticity among German academics lasted nearly three decades. Since then, the case has been largely forgotten. Here, Breundl’s condition is reevaluated in light of our current understanding of short-term memory and attentional disorders and a tentative diagnosis of a deficit in the central executive capacities of working memory is offered.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 6, Issue 2, Spring 2011. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research, Joy Zalis Kiefer Director of Undergraduate Research and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Editor.


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