The Untold Story of Neuroscience’s Most Famous Brain

Like most famous patients in the history of neuroscience, Henry Molaison—or HM, as he was known among scientists—was famous because his brain was defective. Unlike the other patients, his case was not an accident but the deliberate work of a surgeon.In 1953, a neurosurgeon suctioned out two slivers from brain Henry’s skull, hoping to cure him of epilepsy. The surgery helped the seizures, if not completely, but it made Henry unable to form any new memories. (Sound familiar? He was also the inspiration for the movie Memento.) It essentially froze him in time, with a strange memory deficit that ends up illuminating more about how memory works than any other single case in history. Patient H.M. by Luke DittrichRandom HouseThe neurosurgeon who unwittingly made this contribution to memory science was Luke…

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