Teen Memory Erased: 18-Year-Old Rosie Paley Uses Photos, Stories To Recall 16 Years Of Life After Rare Brain Disease Wipes Out Memory
A teen's memory was erased by a virus in her brain, and now the UK teen must rely on photographs and stories from her mother to piece her life together. Eighteen-year-old Rosie Paley lost 16 years of her memory after she contracted a rare brain disease called encephalitis.
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"I've lost all my childhood friends as I can't recognize them or reminisce about old times," the teen, whose memory was erased, told The Telegraph. "So it's hard to be around them as they knew the old me before the memory loss."
According to The Daily Mail, Paley was diagnosed with the virus in 2011, when she was 16 years old. She showed no signs of illness until one day in August, Paley suffered a seizure and fell down the stairs. When Paley woke up in the hospital, the teen's memory was erased; she didn't even recognize the faces of her mother or siblings.
Encephalitis is a rare virus that causes the brain to become inflamed. The virus comes from the herpes simplex virus, the same bug responsible for cold sores and chicken pox. It causes flu-like symptoms including headache, fever, confusion, fatigue and drowsiness, but may go unnoticed if no symptoms are present.
The viral disease that caused the teen's memory to be erased is very rare, affecting just one in 200,000 people each year in the U.S. According to Mirror, there are about 4,000 new cases of encephalitis in the UK every year.
Herpes simplex virus is the most common cause of the rare brain disease, but other viruses like the measles, mumps, rubella and rabies viruses can also cause encephalitis.
Two years after losing her memory, Paley is training to be a hairdresser, Daily Mail reports. In addition to having no long-term memory, the 18-year-old also struggles with short-term memory loss, and has to keep lists and instructions to help her with ordinary daily tasks.
She's also continuing to try and regain what she lost after the teen's memory was erased.
"Looking back at pictures I can see I had an amazing childhood. I just wish I had the memories to go with the pictures," she said.
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