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September 1974

Memory: Autopsy Findings and Comments on the Role of Hippocampus in Experiential Recall

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal.

Arch Neurol. 1974;31(3):145-154. doi:10.1001/archneur.1974.00490390027001

A clinician may report his good results. He must report his bad results. He should report what he learns. In 1956, I decided that I must publish the cases of two patients who had suffered a grave and totally unexpected loss of recent memory as the result of partial left temporal lobectomy in treatment of focal epilepsy. I asked Brenda Milner, ScD, my associate in Psychology, to help me.

During the preparation of our report, William Scoville, MD, described to me the psychotic patients on whom he had operated, removing both hippocampal zones in one procedure, with untoward results similar to my own. Our talk took place during a meeting of neurosurgeons (the proper place for discussion of unhappy results!). He had used an anterior approach to each temporal fossa and employed deep suction to remove the cerebral tissue.

Since his experience seemed to confirm our previous conclusion that only

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