Peskin writes about these conditions and the patients consumed by them with a grace and humanity that recall Oliver Sacks. Her slim volume also manages to tell the stories of the doctors and researchers who chased down these treacherous molecules in the field and in the lab; she has a flair for the quick character sketch and an eye for vivid detail ... Kane’s doctor is a dazzling stylist and a compassionate observer.
Ms. Peskin provides the reader with an acute and evocative demonstration of the fragility and interchangeability of mental, emotional and behavioral states, and shows how they may be affected by the misbehavior of the molecules defining them ... Ms. Peskin articulates the frustration of being routinely relegated to the role of passive observer as her patients 'slowly disappear,' leaving behind just the 'husk of a person' ... Another compelling example of how defective molecules may hold entire generations to ransom is found in a rare familial form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease ... One can imagine a time when the obscure mental calculus of the brain is stripped naked and revealed in its totality.
Peskin includes emotionally charged stories of patients with these conditions, illustrating the misery inflicted by these diseases on individuals and those who love them ... cognitive neurology, medical history, and clinical anecdotes are effectively enlisted in Peskin’s outlook for a bright future for the treatment of dementia and other brain disorders.
A captivating and convincing study that should bring hope and confidence to general readers as well as general practitioners, and to the millions living with neurodegenerative illness and their families. An exemplary work in the relatively new field of narrative medicine.
... impressive ... In vivid prose, Peskin brings to life the scientists who have contributed to the current 'molecular' understanding of such conditions as memory loss and sudden personality shifts ... Anecdotes run the gamut from depressing to enlightening, the latter exemplified by the story of how Abraham Lincoln’s mood swings were linked to mercury poisoning. The case studies can be heavy, but Peskin finds cause for optimism in modern medicine ... There’s much to savor in this powerful survey.
This readable and well-researched book will undoubtedly satisfy those seeking the nature of neurological dysfunction and the most current research being done in this field, with added appeal for anyone with a loved one suffering from brain disease ... Fascinating popular science.