By Luke Dittrich
“Oliver Sacks meets Stephen King”* during this propulsive, haunting trip into the lifetime of the main studied human learn topic of all time, the amnesic often called sufferer H.M., a guy who eternally altered our realizing of ways reminiscence works—and whose remedy increases deeply unsettling questions on the human price of medical growth. For readers of The Immortal lifetime of Henrietta Lacks comes a narrative that has a lot to coach us approximately our relentless pursuit of knowledge.
*Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In 1953, a twenty-seven-year-old manufacturing unit employee named Henry Molaison—who suffered from serious epilepsy—received a thorough new edition of the then-common lobotomy, focusing on the main mysterious buildings within the mind. The operation didn't do away with Henry’s seizures, however it did have an unintentional influence: Henry used to be left profoundly amnesic, not able to create long term thoughts. Over the following sixty years, sufferer H.M., as Henry used to be recognized, turned the main studied person within the historical past of neuroscience, a human guinea pig who could educate us a lot of what we all know approximately reminiscence today.
Patient H.M. is, now and then, a deeply own trip. Dittrich’s grandfather used to be the bright, morally advanced healthcare professional who operated on Molaison—and hundreds of thousands of alternative sufferers. The author’s research into the darkish roots of recent reminiscence technological know-how eventually forces him to confront unsettling secrets and techniques in his family background, and to bare the tragedy that fueled his grandfather’s relentless experimentation—experimentation that may revolutionize our realizing of ourselves.
Dittrich makes use of the case of sufferer H.M. as a kick off point for a kaleidoscopic trip, person who strikes from the 1st recorded mind surgical procedures in old Egypt to the state of the art laboratories of MIT. he is taking readers contained in the outdated asylums and working theaters the place psychosurgeons, as they known as themselves, carried out their human experiments, and behind the curtain of a sour custody conflict over the possession of an important mind within the world.
Patient H.M. combines the easiest of biography, memoir, and technological know-how journalism to create a haunting, ceaselessly interesting tale, one who unearths the wondrous and devastating issues that may ensue whilst hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide.
Praise for Patient H.M.
“Patient H.M. tells some of the most interesting and tense tales within the annals of medication, weaving in ethics, philosophy, a private saga, the heritage of neurosurgery, the mysteries of human reminiscence, and an exploration of human ego.”—Sheri Fink, M.D., Pulitzer Prize winner and writer of Five Days at Memorial
“Dittrich explores the boundaries of technology and the brain. within the strategy, he rescues an iconic existence from oblivion. Dittrich is definitely conscious that whereas we're the sum of what we might take into account, we’re additionally on the mercy of what we will put out of your mind. this can be vintage reporting and myth-making on the comparable time.”—Colum McCann, writer of Let the nice international Spin
“This publication succeeds on each point: as a clean examine the main well-known sufferer in scientific heritage, as an exposé of our darkish historical past of psychiatry and neurosurgery, and, so much powerfully, as a deeply own research into the author’s earlier. And but it’s nonetheless a page-turner that reads like a thriller.”—Susannah Cahalan, writer of Brain on Fire
“It felt as though I learn this e-book in a single breath. Patient H.M. is an engaging, strong research, a matryoshka doll of nested tales concerning the prior and current, remembering and forgetting.”—Michael Paterniti, writer of The Telling Room
Read Online or Download Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets PDF
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Additional info for Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets
A simple principle, and an enduring one. For most of the long history of the healing arts, that principle has guided the care and treatment of our most mysterious and delicate organ. Protect it when possible, keep it clean, don’t muck about inside. That was the status quo for thousands of years. Until suddenly it wasn’t. THREE DREAM JOBS In the lab at MIT, Henry was explaining, again, the many moves his family had made when he was a child. Even the scientists found his odyssey confusing. Dr. William Marslen-Wilson, a British psychologist who was interviewing him, worked hard to follow Henry’s story.
Because I know, in brain surgery”—maybe Henry gestured with one of his hands as though he were holding a scalpel—“that wearing glasses, these little…” Maybe he made a slight twitch with his hand then, pantomiming the scalpel going a little too far, cutting a little too deeply. “That person is gone,” Henry said of his imaginary patient. FOUR THE BRIDGE On September 21, 1930, just before dawn, a twenty-four-year-old man from Pennsylvania named Norman J. Terry snuck past the watchmen for the still-under-construction George Washington Bridge, then climbed to the top of the enormous steel tower on the Manhattan side, bypassing the elevator for the stairs.
Here’s a typical passage, written when he was several years into seminary school and already sounding like the minister he would become: I have never felt before what I feel at this moment—the union of our hearts and souls in a way that has broken all the barriers of distance and brought me into a sudden new understanding of what love between two persons really can be and how it lifts them into the realm of the eternal beyond the mile posts and clock ticks of our little earth. You must be thinking of me, Mother darling, and praying for me this morning—you have given me just as I have been writing this letter something more than I ever before had—a feeling of how we cannot ever be separated that I will always count one of my sacred experiences.