Thursday, 30 November 2017
I recently Read Oliver Sacks autobiography: On the Move. I recommend it
Sacks was British neurologist who only died a short time ago. He had a very eventful life rising to become one the most respected in his milieu, all well documented in this book .
Sacks spent most of his life in America. He found a rest home occupied by patients stricken with a Sleeping Sickness that had swept America between the two World wards. These patients were mainly in a catatonic and hopeless situation. He administered a drug called L-Dopa with amazing results bringing patients back to almost normal, but unfortunately for most only for a limited period. All this is outlined in the autobiography which was written much later.. He wrote a much more detailed account of individual case histories called: Awkakenings which I have now nearly finished here in hospital. Awakenings is as near as anything to an academic text book, but written with so much empathy and human understanding that I always wanted to read on. There are huge numbers of lengthy footnotes most of which I skipped.
In part of Sack's research and study he makes great importance of doctor and patient having a COMBINED mental approach and I found it fascinating that an academic of his standing was prepared to publish these almost metaphysical ideas - he ponders where this power for helping with neurological diseases can come from and how it can square up with the most up to date research in brain function. He also discusses the use of music (another very interesting section of suppositions and conjectures.)
I was also impressed with the amount of knowledge sharing between OS and his many fellow scientific and academic friends and acquaintances.
My immediate reaction to things medical makes me squeamish, and often, in my own case, I think the less I know the better, so reading this was against the grain, but I know these two books and Sacks contribution to humanity will be stashed in my mental list of memorable books.