A Hartford man whose profound amnesia helped pioneer a groundbreaking understanding of the brain, has died.
Henry Gustav Molaison developed seizures after being hit by a bicycle rider in his neighborhood when he was 9. He suffered seizures for years after that.
Eighteen years after the accident, Molaison underwent an experimental brain surgery to correct the seizures, but it left him with amnesia and an inability to form new memories.
For the next half-century, doctors studied Molaison's brain, gaining unprecedented knowledge of learning and memory.
Because of Molaison, doctors didn't know memory could be localized to a specific part of the brain, MIT researchers said.
MIT specialists regularly checked on him, according to officials from Bickford Health Care Center, where he lived for 28 years.
Everyone who knew Molaison said he was a generous, kind, helpful man. He died at a Windsor Locks nursing home Tuesday at the age of 82.
“To us at Bickford, Henry was just a regular resident in spite of his exceptional circumstances,” center officials said in a news release. “Henry lived here privately in spite of his high profile circumstances, and we are pleased to have provided him with a place to age gracefully and with dignity.”