In 1953, at the age of 27, Henry Molaison (HM) lost his ability to form new memories after part of his hippocampus was removed during surgery. He became one of the most studied human beings in the history of psychology. Jacopo Annese, Ph.D., is creating a digital atlas of the deceased HM brain so it can be available for future research. He is also using a similar technique to increase our understanding of the brain changes that underlie cognitive problems and brain MRI alterations seen with HIV.
Annese uses a microtome to slice the brain into approximately 2,500 70-micrometre slices. These are then mounted on slides, stained, and digitized. In the case of HIV infection, white matter abnormalities have been associated with functional and neuropathological changes. Dr. Annesse’s technique creates a 3D reconstruction that can be used to study different patterns of white matter abnormality in the brain.
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Are you interested in HIV research organ donation?
You may be able to participate in a research study. The California NeuroAIDS Tissue Network seeks to understand the causes of cognitive impairment in people with advanced HIV/AIDS. This study includes a tissue donor program for HIV positive individuals who have been assessed neuropsychologically and neuromedically. Contact Susanna Concha-Garcia at (619) 543-5041 or click here for more information on how to participate (English and Spanish speakers can be accommodated).