HK is only the 2nd to be reported in the scientific literature. and six that have been verified that can actually do what HK does. When he was ten years old, there was a tornado that hit the Goodlettsville/ Gallatin area. There’s no trick here, he is right every time. As long as he heard it or experienced it in his life, nothing is forgotten. Vanderbilt neuroscientist and memory expert, Doctor Brandon Alley tested HK and found that he is off the charts for a specific type of memory called autobiographical memory.
What really separates us as humans is ,interestingly enough, this aspect of HK’s memory autobiographical memory to remember exactly what happened to us. The same type of memory dramatically increased in HK maybe what is decimated in alzheimer’s disease. And that’s primarily where my research focuses is understanding exactly how memory breaks down in alzheimer’s disease The brain structures of someone with near perfect autobiographical memory charted and measured and the researchers could hardly believe what they saw It’s 20 percent larger his amygdala is 20 percent larger than normal.
But it is the link with Alzheimer’s disease that is do tantalizing to Alley His connectivity is also very much more dense, almost ten times more than normal individuals. In every other way, HK’s memory is just normal. It was very shocking it was it was a shocking finding. We were hoping to find something but we were not expecting that particular structure. Most of what we know historically has come from single cases H.M. had his hippocampus and medial temporal lobe removed in 1953. It wasn’t until they removed that part of the brain that he could no longer make new memories that we learned that hippocampus was critical. Phineas Gage is another guy from the 1800s who had a tamping iron from railroads go through his head.
It wasn’t until then that we learned that personality changes are associated with changes in the with the frontal cortex. and so now perhaps with H.K. we can learn a little bit He provides a case study for us to learn about where and how we might improve memory. As you can imagine and I haven’t been back. this gift has given him the opportunity reach out and meet an audience that may initially be interested in the kid with the perfect memory, but then once they get to sit down and meet H.K., they realize there’s a lot more to this. There’s a lot more to this story and there’s so much more to his message. My biggest accomplishment is yet to come On Friday, June 1 I am graduating from high school It is a once in a career opportunity to work with somebody like this..