A new study shows that in death as in life, the man who lived 55 years virtually unable to form new memories deepened our understanding of what it takes to make them.

The new images, created and analyzed by a team led by neuroanatomist Jacopo Annese, were released Tuesday and published in the journal Nature Communications. They will now become available to neuroscientists.

The early findings from that effort are notable for their consistency with previous imaging studies, said Brenda Milner, professor of neurosurgery at McGill University’s Montreal Neurological Institute. “That’s reassuring,” said Milner, who was the first researcher to study H.M. She was not involved with the latest effort.

Echoing Annese, Milner said it was possible that the bits of hippocampus left behind by Scoville may have helped H.M. develop vague postsurgery memories of people and events he had seen repeatedly on television, including the 1968 moon landing, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the singer Liza Minelli.

Read the full article in the L.A. Times

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January 29, 2014