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Summary Awakenings ç PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ü Awakenings is a 1973 non fiction book by Oliver Sacks It recounts the life histories of those who had been victims of the 1920s encephalitis lethargica epidemic Sacks chronicles his efforts in the late 1960s to help these patients at the Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx New Rts in the late 1960s to help these patients at the Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx New Yo. This is a fascinating and often very moving account of Sacks' famous experiments using a new at the time dopamine medication to treat the sleeping victims of the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the early 20th century Excoriated at the time for cautioning on L DOPA's miraculous nature Sacks takes the reader on a case by case study detailing the medicine's effects on patients who had been virtually catatoniccomatose for decades These case studies are startling weird disturbing and in the end frustrating Most of the patients had horrible side effects after their brief awakenings and only a few persisted on L DOPA with varying degrees of success Some of Sacks' observations and findings will startle even now in our caring age Parkinsonian effects can be countered by less clinical care and environments; surrounding the supposedly catatonic with what they love including and probably most especially family can have as much of an effect as medicationPerhaps the big takeaway here from Sacks' post case study chapters is on how little we still understand about how the individual brain actually works and how treating things as pathologies might be less valuable than understanding the person undergoing them

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Awakenings is a 1973 non fiction book by Oliver Sacks It recounts the life histories of those. The crux of the book is the work Sacks began in the mid 1960s with dozens of post encephalitic patients at Bronx's Beth Abraham hospital then called the Bronx Home for Incurables and disguised here as Mount Carmel These patients were infected in 1918 by the encephalitis lethargica virus or sleepy sickness Not to be confused with the worldwide influenza pandemic of that same year Those who survived were able afterwards to lead normal lives for years and sometimes decades until they were stricken with Parkinson's disease like symptoms locked and rigid postures that turned them into living statuary akinesia hurrying gait festination frozen skewed gaze oculogyyric crises and so on These patients did not have Parkinson's disease proper but because the encephalitis reduced the neurotransmitter dopamine in the part of their brain known as the substantia nigra they experienced identical if somewhat severe symptoms than actual Parkinson's patients They were to become know as post encephaliticsIn 1969 L DOPA's cost came down sufficiently that Dr Sacks began to prescribe it for his post encephalitic patients The results were at once miraculous and disastrous In a matter of weeks sometimes overnight Sacks's patients were awakened from what for many had been decades of immobility incommunicability and dependence on high levels of nursing care Suddenly these frozen figures were walking and talking their personalities in hiatus for so long perfectly preserved Dr Sacks reviews the cases here of 20 such patients from their often sudden awakening to the onset and growing severity of side effects Awakenings is in the final analysis a tragedy Few of Sacks patients could tolerate the long term effects of L DOPA Not a few regretted ever being treated with it For a handful it provided a vastly improved uality of life They became social again needed far less nursing care but the effects of the drug were highly unstable In an appendix added to the 1990 edition Sacks and a colleague analyze patient responses to L DOPA using the then emerging discipline of chaos theory This appears only in the 1990 edition since the discipline did not exist when Sacks and his patients began their trials of the levodopa in '69 Dr Sacks never met a footnote he didn't love The book is chockful of them Those too long to fit alongside the text are included as appendices Ninety five percent of them seem to me indispensable Sacks is a great thinker of immense erudition who possesses a highly readable prose style The primary text provides straightforward exposition but when read in conjunction with the footnotes where much of the real meat of the book resides it can at times take on an almost fiction like discursivenessOf Sacks's dozen or so books I've read all but three Awakenings is his magnum opus his manifesto and policy declaration In it he lays out his positions on the then current neurology of the day Awakenings was first published in 1973 which he lambastes as coldly empirical and lacking a complementary metaphysical component In America and no doubt much of the West these were the last years of the Physician as God There was little public knowledge of medicine then unlike today and the doctor's role in a crisis was usually unuestioned Today second opinions are sought with regularity integrative approaches to healing readily embraced and there is a vast industry based on purveying medical knowledge to the general public You can see this great change perhaps best in the way pharmaceutical companies now advertise directly to the public in a way they never did during the Awakenings period Sacks is here an articulate proponent for a human less coldly analytical medicine and his endorsement for such an approach which includes close interpersonal relationships with patients is a clarion call Fascinating meticulous and highly recommendedOne appendix is devoted to the many dramatizations of Awakenings on stage and screen There's Harold Pinter's one act play A Kind of Alaska an original documentary film and the feature film which retained Sacks as a consultant I found his descriptions here of DeNiro preparing for his role as Leonard L fascinating

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AwakeningsWho had been victims of the 1920s encephalitis lethargica epidemic Sacks chronicles his effo. The story is thrilling the sleepy sickness epidemic that followed WWI left many people with profound Parkinsonian symptoms; some were hardly able to move never spoke seemed frozen in time for forty years A large number of these patients were under Sacks' care at Mount Carmel hopital in New York in 1969 when he decided to try giving them the new drug L DOPA and witnessed many of them coming suddenly vividly to life But this blurb summary is a gross simplification Sacks is at pains even in the introductions to point out that L DOPA is extremely unpredictable producing different effects even in the same patient and always leads to some 'tribulations' Also the case studies that form the dramatic heart of the book were less fascinating to me than Sacks' writing around them In a way the case studies are richly personal Sacks insists again and again on treating patients as people that 'nothing can be reduced to anything' and that 'if we do not listen to our patients we will never learn anything' However the clinical detail is extensive and given in terminology that takes time to get used to When Sacks reflects on their implications in contrast he writes in expansive lucid prose linking the mysteries of Parkinsonism to uantum mechanics and to lyrical existential poetryThis is a wonderful book for writers because as often in Sacks' work it goes to the heart of what forms character identity personality When he asserts that 'style is the deepest thing in one's being' I am struck by the resonance with some of the most thought provoking philosophy and criticism I have read The succinct expression here is powerful and it is fleshed out by meditations on the notion of health as musicality and free flow of being as moving which the 'phantasmagoria' of Parkinsonism most graphically disrupts and distortsA section on stage and screen interpretations of the original work is included Sacks initially concerned that any adaptation would be 'unreal' was delighted by Pinter's response A Kind of Alaska I felt Pinter had given me as much as I gave him I had given him a reality and he had given me one backUltimately Sacks elouently calls for an existential medicine Over and over he emphasises how deeply affected patients are by their effective imprisonment in a 'Total Institution' and describes how they respond to music visitors trips out as well as to the physical and care environment in extraordinary and radical ways Awakenings allows us to glimpse deep truths about health and disease and their integrity with personhood that should transform the ways we think about them