Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

Living with acute short-term memory loss

Cristina Malcolm

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Cristina Malcolm from Durham suffers from a 10 minute memory after a brain haemorrhage went undetected by her GP and hospital staff.

It means she can recall events from decades past, but ask her what she did 10 minutes ago and she cannot tell you.

Cristina can experience the joy of receiving presents over and over again, because 10 minutes after opening them, she has forgotten about them.

But the reality is that it has put an enormous strain on her life and the lives of her family, as Cristina explains: "I feel like I live in a bubble - a 20 minute bubble. I have no idea what I did yesterday or today - it is absolutely terrible."

For the first time Cristina shows BBC Inside Out what it is like to live with acute short-term memory loss.

Life changing brain haemorrhage

Cristina was born in Romania but settled in England 20 years ago, working as a nurse.

But in 2003 her life changed forever when she suffered two brain haemorrhages.

Brain haemorrhages are the largest cause of sudden death in the UK in normally healthy adults - around 8,000 a year in the UK will die.

Cristina survived but now receives 24 hour care from a team of trained supervisors.

In 2009, after a long legal battle, Cristina was awarded a compensation deal worth £4.6m because of mistakes made by medical staff before she was taken to hospital.

SenseCam treatment

Although there is little chance that Cristina's memory will improve, she will travel to Leeds University later in February 2010 where she will try out a new device called SenseCam.

This is a small camera which takes images every 10 seconds or so which will hopefully help to stimulate her brain.

It would make a huge difference to Cristina's life

But for the time being Cristina relies on her family, medical team and meticulous daily diary to keep a track of what she has been doing.

The full feature can be seen on BBC Inside Out North East & Cumbria on Monday 8 February at 1930 on BBC One and nationwide on BBC iPlayer.

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