Oliver Sacks Awakening

Topics: Neurology, Encephalitis lethargica, Medicine Pages: 2 (704 words) Published: August 1, 2011
Dr.Oliver Sacks and His Awakening Experiment

Dr. Oliver Sacks is a neurologist who took it upon himself to study disorders of the brain that are not quite easily explained. Disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), schizophrenia, Tourette’s, Alzheimer’s, and facial blindness have no known causes and the number of patients diagnosed with these illnesses is steadily increasing. Currently, Dr. Sacks is residing in New York where he is a professor of clinical neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University. Dr. Sacks has accomplished milestones in the field of medicine and is best known for his case studies of neurological disorders, in which he has written several books educating the world on the topic (Why the Brain Loves Music?, 2007).

During the late 1960s, Dr. Sacks began his work as a consulting neurologist at the Beth Abraham Hospital in Bronx, NY. This hospital served as a chronic care facility and housed the very same patients Dr. Sacks would try an experimental drug on (Why the Brain Loves Music? 2007). These catatonic patients were in a coma-like state and could not move nor had any responses for decades. They were survivors of the world-wide illness encephalitis lethargica, otherwise known as the sleepy sickness. This illness was prevalent during 1916-1927 and was first recognized by Constantin von Economo (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2007).

This illness attacks the brain and causes high fever, sore throat, headaches, double vision, delayed responses and movement, sleepiness, abnormal eye movement and other such symptoms that coincided with Parkinson's disease (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2007). The cause for this illness was not known and recent research has suggested that this disease is a result of a negative immune reaction. There was not a consistent form of treatment for this. Some patients were given steroids and were able to see some type of improvement (National Institute...
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