Mine your discoveries

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Oliver Sacks

became fascinated with a group of patients who suffered from a form of encephalitis known as “sleeping sickness.” They were catatonic and had been in the hospital for decades. He began to give them doses of L-dopa, which was just beginning to be used for patients suffering from Parkinson’s. The L-dopa roused them from their stupor, into a world they didn’t recognize, but which often delighted them. Sacks said, “There was a great joy and a sort of lyrical delight in the world which had been given back.” He wrote about them in the book Awakenings (1973), which later became a movie starring Robin Williams (1990). The book was a hit, and Sacks kept mining the case histories of his patients, calling his books “neurological novels.”

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