Marilu Henner (often mistakenly written as Mary Lou Henner), an actress on the hit TV series Taxi, appeared on the CBS show 60 Minutes tonight to discuss her amazing memory.
Henner has a rare trait called superior autobiographical memory. She can remember each day of her life as if it was yesterday. In people with the trait, the memories usually go back to their youth.
Taxi’s Marilu Henner is one of only six people known to have superior autobiographical memory. According to Wikipedia, the condition is also know as Hyperthymesia, piking or hyperthymestic syndrome. A study of the first person identified with this super memory was published in 2008.
60 Minutes brought five of these people together for the first time. On the show they discussed their similar experiences and feelings. The discussion included both of some of the benefits, and some of the drawbacks, to remembering everything. They agreed that sometimes it amazed them what their friends and families would forget.
According to doctors interviewed on 60 Minutes, MRI’s have found that people with this memory trait have a larger than normal temporal lobe and caudate nucleus. The caudate nucleus is a region deep in the brain and its enlargement has also been linked to related to obsessive compulsive disorders . It is unknown if the enlargements are due to the increased use of the memory or if they were born that way.