His Life Deleted

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51ywGQIVZiL.jpgIn lecture we learned about the Case of H.M, Henry Gustav Molaison. H.M. was in a biking accident at the age of seven that resulted in intractable epilepsy, a brain disorder in which a person experiences repeated seizures. In surgery succeeding the accident, H.M. lost about two-thirds of his hippocampus and later suffered from anterograde amnesia, amnesia in which one cannot store new events to his long-term memory. H.M. was studied for his memory disorder beginning in the late 1950s and his case played a significant role in the theories explaining the connection between memory and brain function and in the advances in cognitive neuropsychology.

The story "Couple Discusses Husband's Permanent Amnesia" was played on ABC's Good Morning America this past Thursday. The interview I watched was based on a man named Scott who in 2008, slipped and hit his head and lost all of his life memories caused by stopped blood flow to the right temporal lobe, where memory is stored. His diagnosis was retrograde amnesia, which is the loss of pre-existing memories to conscious recollection. The man now tries to remember his life through photos and with the help of his wife and daughter. While he states that he felt like his life was "deleted" and recalled feeling like a "blank slate" he has been able to reconnect with his wife and is trying to go about life normally. Following the accident he wrote the book "My Life, Deleted."

After watching the interview on Scott and his wife I was left questioning the extent to which Scott was affected. Even though he does not remember any of his life memories he was still able to go about the world normally in the sense that he knew how to walk, talk, get dressed and perform procedural tasks. His type of amnesia is very rare and I think studying his brain is beneficial in deepening our understanding about the different regions of our brain involving memory, the temporal lobe and maybe the hippocampus and learn more about why individuals are able to remember some things, such as procedural tasks, and not others.


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This page contains a single entry by terwi028 published on October 8, 2011 12:06 PM.

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