Stem Cell Symphony: A Novel
Trafford Publishing, 2007 - 223 pages
Stuart Matheson, 32, is trapped in a nursing home as well as his body, eerily immobile at the last stage of Huntington's Disease. Kelsey Raye is a science writer feeling guilty about the recent deaths of her parents. She volunteers for hospice and is assigned to Stuart. She's a PhD, he never finished school, but they share a love of rock music and disdain of religion. They instantly bond.
As Kelsey plays her iPod daily for Stuart, he improves - an impossibility - and when she misses a few days, he backslides. She deduces that Stuart's gains follow hearing U2 or their imitators. Kelsey, who writes about stem cells, thinks the frequency of the arpeggios is turning on stem cells in Stuart's brain. She shares her idea with researcher Peter Holloway, but evil Nurse Smithies overhears and outs them to a tabloid. Meanwhile, Peter scans Stuart's brain. He's getting better!
All hell breaks loose when the tabloid hits. The government shuts down Peter's lab and confiscates Kelsey's iPod, while anti-stem cell protestors harass them -- just as Peter discovers how music stimulates stem cells. Then something unexpected happens. Did science fail, or was it the anti-science forces?
The underlying love story and comical cast of characters propel this parallel tale of emerging spirituality and an evolving medical technology. Many of the characters and scenes are based on real people, and the science dead-on accurate - with the one tweak of the music turning on stem cells.
It could happen.