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The Case of Henry Molaison

29 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 28 August 2013

HM, or Henry Gustave Molaison, is the world's most famous neurological patient. A well-known case study in any neuroscience or psychology text book, he had amnesia caused by an operation in 1953 to cure his serious epilepsy. His seizures were cured but the removal of a part of his brain left him unable to form new memories. For the next 50 years until his death in 2008, he was studied and researched, his condition revolutionising what we now know about memory. Suzanne Corkin, Emerita Professor of Neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA, and author of a new book, Permanent Present Tense, studied him for almost four decades. She talks to Claudia about Henry the man, and Henry’s contribution to science.

Child car deaths in the UAE
Every year a number of children die locked in cars during hot weather. In the United States, for example, 28 children have been accidentally killed in this way this year. If temperatures are very high, a child can die in a hot car in just ten minutes. Now a new campaign in the United Arab Emirates is trying to warn parents of the problem. For Health Check, Malak Harb has been investigating why it happens.

Surgical Safety Checklist
The Surgical Safety Checklist is a checklist that surgical staff go through at the start of an operation. The idea is that it can be used anywhere and that it will cut down on the number of mistakes made in surgery, saving many lives. It is now used in 1800 institutions around the world, and although the list seems simple, a new study conducted in two hospitals in Britain and one in sub-Saharan Africa found that it is not always straightforward to implement. Dr Emma-Louise Aveling from the Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, is the lead author of the study. (Co-authors were Prof Mary Dixon-Woods, University of Leicester and Peter McCulloch, University of Oxford.)

Picture: Neurons firing in the neural network within the brain. Science Photo Library


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