The Legacy of Patient H.M. for Neuroscience
Larry R. Squire1,2,*
Affairs Healthcare System, San Diego, CA 92161, USA of Psychiatry, Neurosciences, and Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA *Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.12.023
H.M. is probably the best known single patient in the history of neuroscience. His severe memory impairment, which resulted from experimental neurosurgery to control seizures, was the subject of study for ﬁve decades until his death in December 2008. Work with H.M. established fundamental principles about how memory functions are organized in the brain.
In 1952, Brenda Milner was completing her doctoral research at McGill University under the direction of Donald Hebb. At about this time, she encountered two patients (P.B. and F.C.) who had become severely amnesic following unilateral removal of the medial structures of the left temporal lobe for the treatment of epileptic seizures (Penﬁeld and Milner, 1958). This unfortunate outcome was entirely unexpected, and it was proposed that in each case there had been a preexistent, but unsuspected, atrophic lesion in the medial temporal lobe of the opposite hemisphere. In that way, the unilateral surgery would have resulted in a bilateral lesion, an idea that was conﬁrmed at autopsy some years later for patient P.B. After the two cases were presented at the 1955 meeting of the American Neurological Association, Wilder Penﬁeld (the neurosurgeon in both cases) received a call from William Scoville, a neurosurgeon in Hartford, Connecticut. Scoville told Penﬁeld that he had seen a similar memory impairment in one of his own patients (H.M.) in whom he had carried out a bilateral medial temporal lobe resection in an attempt to control epileptic seizures. As a result of this conversation, Brenda Milner was invited to travel to Hartford to study H.M. H.M. had been knocked down by a bicycle at... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2011, 04). The Legacy of Patient H.M. for Neuroscience. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 04, 2011, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/The-Legacy-Of-Patient-H-m-For-678461.html
"The Legacy of Patient H.M. for Neuroscience" StudyMode.com. 04 2011. 04 2011 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/The-Legacy-Of-Patient-H-m-For-678461.html>.
"The Legacy of Patient H.M. for Neuroscience." StudyMode.com. 04, 2011. Accessed 04, 2011. http://www.studymode.com/essays/The-Legacy-Of-Patient-H-m-For-678461.html.