From Library Journal
In 1982, six patients appeared in California clinics displaying mysterious symptoms: their bodies were so stiff that they appeared to be frozen. Langston, currently the president of the California Parkinson's Foundation, was one of the first physicians to examine the patients. He discovered that they had all injected a "designer" drug into their systems that created symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. Through excellent detective work and a good deal of pure luck, Langston located the chemical MPTP, which also produced Parkinsonian symptoms in primates. That discovery was of supreme medical importance, providing Langston and other researchers with the ability to test Parkinson's treatments on animal models. New approaches, including fetal tissue transplantation, could now be pursued. Langston's book intersperses discussions of recent research on Parkinson's while continuing to report on the progress of the "frozen addicts." A fast-paced medical detective format makes this a fascinating and immensely informative work. Highly recommended for most libraries.?Tina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The fascinating story of 12 years in Langston's career takes him from clinician to organizer of the Parkinson's Institute in California. In the process and with the aid of his growing staff and several Swedish physicians, he "thawed out" George, Juanita, and Connie, three of six addicts he'd been called to see in 1982. The six had suddenly shown signs of advanced Parkinson's disease that included inflexible or "frozen" bodies and inability to communicate. An alert and imaginative neurologist, Langston eventually suspected a chemical cause because of indications that all six were addicted to heroin or had used at least some just before the onset of symptoms. Ultimately, Langston unlocked his patients to the point at which a long and tortuous medical detective story could begin. The happy conclusion for the successfully thawed three came after the use of various experimental drugs and the transplanting of, first, adrenal, and finally, fetal, tissues. Readers of many stripes should find this well-told tale exciting. William Beatty