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The Cure

Unsung Hero: Henry Molaison

How one man's brain surgery shaped our understanding of memory function.

Last Modified: 28 Aug 2013 08:40
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[Image of Henry Molaison, copyright Suzanne Corkin]

Henry Molaison was an American memory disorder patient who, in 1953, at the age of 27, had parts of his brain removed in an attempt to cure his epilepsy.

While the removal of parts of his hippocampus, amygdaloid complex and entorhinal cortex reduced seizures, Henry lost the ability to form any new memories and lived the rest of his life in the present tense.

He was not able to create any new long-term memories, such as learning new words or recalling times and dates, although he was able to recall long-term memories from before his surgery and learn some new tasks such as walking with a frame.

By agreeing to be studied until his death, Molaison enabled researchers to far better understand how different areas of the brain are linked to specific memory function.

 

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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