Sunday, 20 September 2015


The story...

Conductor Lisa Gombinsky has sent me a fascinating extract from Jon Palfreman's new book, published this week, Brain Storms: the race to unlock the mysteries of Parkinson's disease:

The book

Publisher's blurb –
Seven million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson's, with more men having the disease than women. Yet it remains an enigma, with doctors, researchers and patients hunting for a cure.
In Brain Storms the award-winning journalist and veteran TV producer, Jon Palfreman, tells their stories, stories that take on a particular urgency since he himself has been diagnosed with the illness. Palfreman chronicles how scientists have laboured to crack the mystery of what was once called the 'shaking palsy', from the earliest clinical descriptions to the cutting edge of molecular neuroscience.
He charts the victories and setbacks of a massive international effort to get the better of the disease, referred to as one of the best windows into the brain itself. Brain Storms is also a profoundly personal investigation into Palfreman's own struggles and those of others living with Parkinson's. The race is on to stop or reverse conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
Brain Storms is the long-overdue, riveting detective story of that race, and a passionate, insightful account of the lives of those affected.

I do hope that I never have to know about Parkinson's, but I am pleased to see such corroboration that substantial scientific advance can arise from observation of a tiny population, detailed humane report of what is encountered, and lucid description. Think on't.

Especially welcome so soon after the death of Oliver Sack...


Palfreman, P. (2015) Brain Storms: the race to unlock the mysteries of Parkinson's disease, London, Rider Press

Palfreman, P. (2015) From shaking palsy to Parkinson's: defining a neurodegenerative disease, WBFO News, 18 September

(extract from the above)

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