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Seven million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson's, and doctors, researchers, and patients continue to hunt for a cure. In Brain Storms, the award-winning journalist Jon Palfreman tells their story, a story that became his own when he was diagnosed with the debilitating illness.
Palfreman chronicles how scientists have worked to crack the mystery of what was once called the shaking palsy, from the earliest clinical descriptions of tremors, gait freezing, and micrographia to the cutting edge of neuroscience, and charts the victories and setbacks of a massive international effort to best the disease. He takes us back to the late 1950s and the discovery of L-DOPA. He delves into a number of other therapeutic approaches to this perplexing condition, from partial lobotomies and deep brain stimulation to neural grafting. And he shares inspiring stories of brave individuals living with Parkinson's, from a former professional ballet dancer who tricks her body to move freely again to a patient who cannot walk but astounds doctors when he is able to ride a bicycle with no trouble at all.
With the baby boom generation beginning to retire and the population steadily aging, the race is on to discover a means to stop or reverse neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Brain Storms is a deeply personal story of that race, and a passionate, insightful, and urgent look into the lives of those affected.
Jon Palfreman, PhD, is professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Oregon. He is an Emmy, duPont, and Peabody Award--winning journalist, a Nieman Fellow, and the recipient of the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting. In addition to producing more than forty prime time documentaries for the BBC and PBS, Palfreman is a coauthor of The Case of the Frozen Addicts and The Dream Machine
"Award-winning journalist Palfreman's fast-paced, captivating, and crisp narrative of patients, doctors, and researchers is part scientific investigation, part medical detective story, and part memoir, and it opens wide a window into the world of Parkinson's."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Through keen and captivating storytelling, Jon Palfreman expertly shares the many challenges and opportunities that surround Parkinson's research and gives credit to the people who have made drug discovery and development possible-most of all, the individuals living with the disease."--Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
"Rarely if ever does a book on Parkinson's disease come along that so seamlessly explores the personal side of the illness as well as the latest in scientific research from around the world. Jon Palfreman presents the disease with insight, sensitivity, and accuracy-truly an awesome achievement. Whether you are a patient, family member, physician, scientist, or simply someone interested in how science and emotions merge when someone develops a disease such as Parkinson's, you will benefit enormously from this eminently readable, wonderful book. I have never seen a book that explores the whole story of Parkinson's disease in such depth, and with such skill."--J. William Langston, MD, Chief Scientific Officer and founder of Parkinson's Institute
288 pages. 2016