Vacant Eyes

Sidney Spies, Author
Sidney Spies, Author Dell Publishing Company $4.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-440-20985-0
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
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Patients in their 40s, 30s and even their 20s are turning up with Alzheimer's in Dr. Karen Formaker's research experiment to test whether injections of neurotransmitters can reverse the dread disease. Karen has good reason for haste--her own brother-in-law has succumbed to early senility, and something untoward is occurring at Cinema Acres's medical center for aging Hollywood stars. Formaker is employed there and Alberto Ruiz, a Brazilian researcher, has holed up in a basement lab to perform mysterious experiments. Can the untoward something--and the Alzheimer's epidemic--be tied in to a rare Amazonian virus that causes rapid dementia in tribesmen who ritually eat the brains of their deceased leaders? Newcomer Spies offers a fine medical thriller. Still, there are some complaints to be voiced here: Karen Formaker is believable enough, but she has a tendency to collapse in tears on the closest male chest. And surely a bit of humor would have relieved the relentless dread evoked about Alzheimer's. But the story gets readers in its grip and keeps them there. And Spies, a physician of internal medicine, adroitly introduces readers to basic neurological research and the bewildering workings of the human brain. (Dec.)
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