How HM’s Bilateral Medial Temporal Lobe Resection Surgery Revolutionized Our Understanding of Memory and the Brain

What happened to HM’s memory?

He was assessed of having anterograde (loss of ability to make NEW memories) and retrograde (loss of ability to recall events PRIOR to the injury) amnesia.

HM, also known as Henry Molaison, suffered from severe anterograde amnesia after undergoing bilateral medial temporal lobe resection surgery in 1953. This surgery removed a significant portion of his hippocampus and adjacent structures in an attempt to cure his epilepsy. Unfortunately, this surgery resulted in the loss of HM’s ability to form new memories of his experiences and events that occurred after the surgery. He could remember the events that happened before the surgery, but he couldn’t form new long-term memories. This impairment occurred because the hippocampus is essential for consolidating new memories into long-term storage. HM’s case was one of the most significant contributions to the understanding of memory and the brain, leading to discoveries and treatments for other patients with memory impairments.

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