Arguably one of the greatest contributions to modern day neuroscience was made in 1953 by Henry Molaison, a 27-year-old man who suffered from debilitating epilepsy.
The summer of that year, a surgeon in Hartford, Conn., removed two slivers of Molaison’s brain, an attempt to quell the seizures. The seizures subsided, but Molaison was left lacking the ability to record new memories, a case of severe anterograde amnesia that revolutionized our understanding of how memory works and helped establish the science of it.
Epilepsy and patients like Molaison have frequently been at the center of breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of the brain. It is a window that has allowed researchers unparalleled access to unearth the ways in which the structure and functions of the brain inform its psychological processes.