the man who couldn’t remember

December 4, 2009

This is crazy cool neuroscience. An article in the NYT talks about dissection beginning on a “famous brain.” It would be great to be considered to have a famous brain one day, but I think if it were me, I’d rather it be famous for ideas that came out of it, rather than an interesting malfunction it has.

The gist of it, if you can’t be bothered to check it out, is that this man had an experimental operation to relieve seizures, which removed part of his brain. The operation was a success — sort of. No more seizures, but no more memory, either. He completely lost his ability to form memories, or so they thought for long years.

But, over time, it turned out that he could actually form certain kinds of memories, like being able to map out the floor plan of the house where he lived, and recalling how to perform certain physical tasks. Now that he no longer needs his brain, researchers are getting to take a look at it in detail, and they hope to figure out much more than is currently understood about how memories form.

They’re starting by slicing it up into 2500 very thin slices.  If you’re morbid like me, you can even watch this process live online here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: