A faculty member from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences writes, "He is considered the most important patient in the study of the human brain, known worldwide only by his initials, HM. In death, we learned his name. He was Henry Gustav Molaison. He died at a nursing home on December 2, 2008, at the age of 82, after living for most of his life in a state of permanent amnesia. Over 55 years, Mr. Molaison was the subject of intense scientific study, and he's credited with helping scientists unlock secrets of how we form memories. When he was 27, Mr. Molaison underwent brain surgery to cure a seizure disorder, and that surgery left him unable to form new memories of his own. Dr. Suzanne Corkin (a faculty member at MIT) studied him extensively.
"H.M. was studied extensively at MIT by many faculty and students. H.M. hoped the research he took part in would help other people. He and his court-appointed guardian consented to the studies, and they also agreed to donate his brain for future study. The result was a far better understanding of how our brains makes new memories, and researchers were able to tease out the differences between short-term and long-term memory creation."