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ForgettingMyths, Perils and Compensations$
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Douwe Draaisma

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300207286

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300207286.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

In Memory of Henry M.

In Memory of Henry M.

(p.57) Chapter Three In Memory of Henry M.

Douwe Draaisma

, Liz Waters
Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Henry Gustav Molaison (H.M.), who died on the early evening of December 2, 2008 at the age of 82. After his death images were made of his brain, which was then removed from the skull and prepared for transport to the Brain Observatory. It has since been cut into 2,401 slices, each of them photographed and digitalized, resulting in a virtual brain that can be accessed online for research purposes. The story of H.M. has been embedded in hundreds of neurological textbooks and introductions to neuropsychology. It begins in the summer of 1953, when H.M., then 27 years old, was admitted to a hospital in Hartford due to severe epileptic seizures that were occurring with increasing frequency. Because his condition was unresponsive to medication, the surgeon proposed the removal of part of both hemispheres of his brain, in the hope of eliminating the focus of his epilepsy. While the operation reduced his seizures, parts of his past were also wiped from his memory. But far worse was that he was no longer able to form new memories, a type of memory loss known as “anterograde amnesia”. For many years, H.M. was the purest case of anterograde amnesia known to the medical world.

Keywords:   Henry Gustav Molaison, brain research, neurological research, neuropsychology, human memory, anterograde amnesia, memory loss, new memories

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