Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
January 2002; Vol. 21(2): 432-698
Simon Birnbaum revisited: A state of continuing awakening following herpes simplex encephalitis.
Conway, Landon B.; Gerhart, E. Richard; Rigotto, Marcus; Blake, Evelyn K.
Updated report of the case study of one Simon Woodrow Birnbaum, a gifted musician and scholar who, at the height of his career, became infected by herpes simplex encephalitis. His condition is extremely severe in comparison to other reported cases, particularly with respect to both his retrograde amnesia, which extends back for virtually the whole of his life, and his diminished episodic memory. In addition, anterograde amnesia is heavily pronounced in Mr. Birnbaum, who has not only lost the ability to relate himself to the immediate past, but also to project himself into the future. However, procedural memory in Mr. Birnbaum appears to be relatively intact, save for rare lapses in speech syntax. An interview with Mr. Birnbaum and his spouse, Deborah Beatrice Birnbaum, will be presented in context with excerpts from statements collected in past studies to provide a fuller demonstration of Mr. Birnbaum's emotional status as a consequence of his eleven-year ordeal with the disorder.