From Poison Arrows to Prozac: How Deadly Toxins Changed Our Lives Forever

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John Blake Publishing Ltd, Apr 1, 2009 - Science - 272 pages
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In the 16th century, when explorers traveled deeper into the jungles of South America in search of gold and spices, they brought back many colorful tales of their adventures to amaze and impress their sponsors. None of these tales was more astonishing, or caused more concern, than that of the mystical properties of the substance with which the natives anointed their darts and arrows. So begins the astonishing true story of the discovery of one of the most important substances in medical science. Curare poison was to become the cornerstone of modern anaesthetics and went on to provide the key to how we understand the nervous system, leading to drugs as diverse as indigestion pills and Prozac. More recently it has led to our understanding of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. In this fascinating book, Professor Stanley Feldman traces the evolution of a substance that has saved countless lives and revolutionized the way we see our minds and bodies.
 

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User Review  - bj - LibraryThing

An interesting read about the discovery and use of curare and other muscle relaxants and the impact that has had on anaesthesia and our understanding of cell signaling. This is an easy read but there ... Read full review

Contents

Title Page Acknowledgements Preface
Prologue
The South American Arrow Poison
Unravelling the Mystery
Claude Bernard
Dangerous Remedies
The Controversy
Otto Loewi and Henry Dale
A Milestone in Anaesthesia
Problems
Unanswered Questions
The Way Forward
The Mongoose and the Snake
New Drugs
Lessons Learned
Epilogue

Serendipity
Curare in Anaesthesia
Further Reading and References Copyright
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Stanley Feldman is the author of Life Begins . . . and coeditor of Panic Nation.

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