Real-life Groundhog Day: Man wakes up every day thinking it's 14 March 2005 and he has a dental appointment

His unique form of amnesia has experts baffled

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The Independent Online

In the film Groundhog Day, Bill Murray played a weatherman who wakes up every day to find it is 2 February and he has to report a tedious weather segment.

Somewhere in the UK, there is a man who wakes up every day in the belief that it's 14 March, 2005 and he has a dental appointment to get to.

He can remember everything up until that day, but can only hold on to memories for 90 minutes at a time after that.

According to the journal Neurocase, patient WO, referred to as William, can recall everything up 1.40pm on the day, when he was serving in the military in Germany and was injected with anaesthetic before root canal surgery.

His condition has experts baffled, and his doctor thinks that while his symptoms are similar to that of anterograde amnesia, a whole new classification of amnesia is needed.

"He wakes up believing he should still be in the military, stationed abroad," Dr Burgess said.

"Every day he thinks it is the day of the dental appointment.

"Each morning he is prompted by his wife to check his computer, on which the family has listed, and keep updated, key facts he should be aware of.

"Some events that have occurred since the onset of his condition in March 2005 continue to elicit genuine surprise or astonishment."

William has no signs of brain damage or changes but his doctor is confident he is not faking the symptoms, with experts thinking the condition might be caused by a breakdown of protein synthesis in the brain.

"Overall, this brand of amnesia needs another diagnostic or classification category than any currently existing," Dr Burgess said.

With no cure in sight, William maintains a functional daily life by using an electronic diary and prompts to remind him of the real date.

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