Neuropsychologist Suzanne Corkin, most well known for her work with profoundly amnesic patient HM, has passed away and The New York Times has a fitting obituary and tribute.
Although Corkin did a range of work on memory, including testing various medications to treat Alzheimer’s disease, she is in many ways synonymous with amnesic Patient HM, later revealed to be Henry Molaison, who she studied and worked with for most of both of their lives.
Corkin not only took a scientific interest in HM, she also ensured his well-being and appropriate care.
HM had perhaps one of the profoundest amnesias reported in the scientific literature but there is a lovely description in The New York Times obituary that describes how HM formed an emotional memory of Corkin, even though a conscious memory wasn’t present.
But it was her relationship with H.M. that was defining. His profound deficits made their relationship anything but normal – every time she walked in the room, she had to reintroduce herself – but that repetition bred a curious bond over time.
“He thought he knew me from high school,” Dr. Corkin said in an interview with The New York Times in 2008.
Link to Suzanne Corkin obituary in The NYT.