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"Laurence Kim Peek" (November 11, 1951 –
December 19, 2009) was an American savant.
Known as a"megasavant", he was confounding
mixture of disability and brilliance. Gifted with
the worlds best memory, he was also burdened
with social awkwardness and the inability to perform
even simple activities of daily living, such as combing
his hair or brushing his teeth, without assistance.
He was the inspiration for the character of
Raymond Babbitt, played by Dustin Hoffman in
the movie Rain Man. Unlike Babbitt,
Peek had FG syndrome.
MRI Of Kim Peek's Brain
(Click On Image To Enlarge & Shrink)
Peek was born in Salt Lake City, Utah with acrocephaly
damage to the cerebellum, and agenesis of the corpus callosum, a condition in which the bundle of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain is missing;
in Peek's case, secondary connectors such as the
anterior commissure were also missing. There is
speculation that his neurons made unusual connections
due to the absence of a corpus callosum, which
resulted in an increased memory capacity. Peek
did not walk until the age of four and then in a
sidelong manner. He could not button up his shirt
and had difficulty with other ordinary motor skills,
presumably due to his damaged cerebellum,
which normally coordinates motor activities.
In psychological testing, Peek scored below
average (87) on general IQ tests. But, according
to Peek's father, Fran Peek, Kim was able to
memorize things from the age of 16–20 months.
He read books, memorized them, and then placed
them upside down on the shelf to show that he had
finished reading them, a practice he maintained
throughout life.. He could speed through a book in
about an hour and remember almost everything he
had read, memorizing vast amounts of information in
subjects ranging from history and literature, geography
and numbers to sports, music and dates. According to an
article in the Times newspaper, he could accurately
recall the contents of at least 12,000 books.
But perhaps the most stunning feature
of Kim's reading abilities was the fact that,
because his two hemispheres functioned
independently, Kim would read two pages
simultaneously - reading the left page
with his left eye and the right page
with his right eye, remembering nearly
everything he read - all 12,000 volumes!
And that my friends is truly crazy!
Mr. Peek had memorized so many Shakespearean
plays and musical compositions and was such a stickler
for accuracy, his father said, that they had to stop
attending performances because he would stand
up and correct the actors or the musicians.
“He’d stand up and say: ‘Wait a minute!
The trombone is two notes off,’ ”
John Stephen Akhwari
Arthur C. Guyton, M.D.
THE GUYTON FAMILYDavid L. Guyton, M.D.