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Article abstract: Kumagusu Minakata (1867-1941), a Japanese genius devoted to natural history and folklore, is famous for his immense range of works, including his discovery of many new varieties of mycetozoa, or slime molds. His diary reveals that he was affected by epilepsy. In this study of his brain, we adopted a method of measuring the volume of the hippocampi by MRI of postmortem brain and found evidence of right hippocampal atrophy. This finding, together with the striking parallels between his behavior and the known behavioral syndrome in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), suggests that he was affected by TLE. The postmortem imaging analysis of brain, as performed in this study, offers a bridge between neuroscience and classic psychopathologic approaches to the creativity of geniuses.

(C) 1998 American Academy of Neurology