Friday, December 5, 2008

RIP, "H. M."

Henry Gustav Molaison (or H. M., as he's known in the textbooks), arguably the most important patient in the history of neuroscience, died yesterday at the age of 82. A surgical procedure that involved removing both halves of the hippocampus in early adulthood left him with anterograde amnesia - basically he was unable to form certain types of long-term memories that cognitive scientists call declarative (general knowledge and autobiographical information). I knew he had to be fairly elderly, but was not sure as of the most recent time I covered his condition and its implications for understanding the nature of learning and memory whether he was still alive.

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