In the latest TED-Ed animation, “The Hippocampus and Memory,” educator Sam Kean and animator Anton Bogaty explore the function of the hippocampus, the region of the brain named after its resemblance to a seahorse. The region’s tie to our long-term memory was discovered when a surgeon removed it in an attempt to treat a patient’s seizures.
When Henry Molaison (now widely known as H.M.) cracked his skull in an accident, he began blacking out and having seizures. In an attempt to cure him, daredevil surgeon Dr. William Scoville removed H.M.’s hippocampus. Luckily, the seizures did go away — but so did his long-term memory.