Clive Wearing suffers from a severe form of amnesia that resulted from a viral infection that attacked his brain, damaging the hippocampus and associated areas. Before this infection Clive was a world-class musician and he can still play the piano brilliantly and conduct a choir but he cannot remember his musical education.
His memory for faces, other than his own and his wife’s is minimal. His episodic memory has been damaged beyond repair. However he can still walk, talk, read, and play the piano. He can still use a knife and fork and a telephone. His long term memory for skills and how the world works is still intact.
He can remember some other aspects of his life before his infection, but not others. For example, he knows he has children from an earlier marriage, but cannot remember their names. He recognises his second wife, Deborah, and greets her joyously every time they meet, believing he has not seen her in years, even though she may have just left the room for a few minutes.
Clive Wearing suffers from Anterograde and retrograde amnesia.
Anterograde amnesia is a loss of the ability to create new memories after the event that caused the amnesia, leading to a partial or complete inability to recall the recent past, while long-term memories from before the event remain intact.
Retrograde amnesia is a form of amnesia where someone is unable to recall events that occurred before the development of the amnesia.