Obituaries Obituaries

Henry Molaison

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 17 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b968
  1. Boleslav Lichterman
  1. lichterman{at}

    Patient who became a cause célèbre in the study of memory

    Henry Gustav Molaison, though known until his death only as HM to protect his privacy, is considered to be “one of the most famous people in the history of psychology.” He would undoubtedly be surprised to discover that his death has been commemorated by extensive obituaries in leading non-medical publications, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Economist. Suzanne Corkin, a psychologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who worked with HM for 45 years and who is writing a book about her experience, has arranged to preserve his brain for future study. Columbia Pictures and the film producer Scott Rudin have already acquired the rights to make a biopic of Henry Molaison, to be based on Corkin’s memoirs.

    Henry Molaison was born near Hartford, Connecticut, the son of an electrician. Three first cousins on his father’s side had epilepsy. It remains unclear whether a minor head injury at the age of 7 years had any role in the development of Henry’s petit mal seizures from the age of 10 and …

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