In The Mind’s Eye, the Awakenings author and famed neurologist tells the stories of people who are able to navigate the world and communicate with others despite losing what many of us consider indispensable senses and abilities.
Oliver Sacks, a physician and author, has been called “the poet laureate of medicine” by The New York Times. His books and essays, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on Mars, are used in schools and universities around the world. He is also the author of Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, and a forthcoming book, The Mind’s Eye.
In his books, Sacks describes patients struggling to live with brain conditions ranging from Tourette’s syndrome to autism, Parkinsonism, phantom limb syndrome, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. His book Awakenings inspired a play by Harold Pinter and also the Oscar-nominated feature film with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. His essays regularly appear in the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, as well as various medical journals.
Sacks is professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine.
Medical specialty concerned with nervous system function and disorders. Clinical neurology began in the mid-19th century, when mapping of the functional areas of the brain first began and understanding of the causes of conditions such as epilepsy improved. The development of electroencephalography in the 1920s aided in the diagnosis of neurological disease, as did the development of computerized axial tomography in the 1970s and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging in the 1980s. In addition to dealing with physical disorders (e.g., tumours, trauma), neurology is unique among medical specialties in its intersection with psychiatry. Greater understanding of the brain chemistry of disorders such as schizophrenia and depression has led to a wide array of effective drugs that nevertheless work best in conjunction with psychotherapy. Side effects of drug or surgical therapy can be serious, and many nervous system disorders have no effective treatment.