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Overview

A star science journalist with Parkinson's reveals the inner workings of this perplexing disease.

Seven million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson's-with sixty thousand new cases diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone-and it remains an enigma, with doctors, researchers, and patients hunting for a cure. In Brain Storms, award-winning journalist Jon Palfreman tells their story, a story that takes on urgency when he is diagnosed with the debilitating illness.

Palfreman chronicles how scientists have labored 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 best 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. From a professional ballet dancer who "tricks" her body to move freely again, to a "frozen" patient who cannot walk but astounds doctors when he is able to ride a bicycle, Palfreman shines a light on the varied and ingenious ways patients cope with having their bodies steadily taken away from them.

The race is on to discover a means to stop or reverse neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Brain Storms is the long-overdue, riveting detective story of that race, and a passionate, insightful account into thelives of those affected.

Jon Palfreman, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Oregon. He is an Emmy, duPont, and Peabody Award-winning journalist, a Nieman Fellow and the recipient of the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting. In addition to producing more than 40 prime time documentaries for the BBC and PBS, Palfreman is the co-author of The Case of the Frozen Addicts and author of The Dream Machine. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.