Sunday, December 7, 2008

H.M. Passes

H.M., a very famous neuropsychology patient, who had most of his temporal lobe and hippocampus (the purple bit in the picture) removed from both sides of his brain to control intractable seizures, passed away Tuesday at a nursing home in in Connecticut at the age of 82. He had been the subject of study for over 50 years and brought much new knowledge of the brain and memory to the field. His obituary can be found at the New York Times here.

In the interest of protecting his privacy, Mr. Henry Gustav Molaison was known to the world only as HM. I learned of him in my very first undergraduate introduction to psychology course (yes, the same course I teach at the local juco) back in 1986. I bet if you still have your intro psych text lying around somewhere, you can look up the chapter on memory and find him there. If he doesn't show up in the index under H.M. (which he usually doesn't), look under amnesia, hippocampus or memory, then flip to that section of the text. Go look - I'll wait. Then leave me a comment with the title, author and text where you found him.

A few books from my library that reference HM include:

Darby & Walsh (2005) Walsh's Neuropsychology: A Clinical Approach 5th ed. Elsevier; New York.

Kolb & Whishaw (2003) Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology. Worth Publishers; New York.

Rosensweig, Leiman & Breedlove (1996) Biological Psychology. Sinauer; Sunderland, MA.

Wood, Wood & Boyd (2008) Mastering the World of Psychology 3rd ed. Allyn & Bacon; Boston. (this is the current intro psych text I use at the juco)

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