Messengers/Paradise

Charles Levinthal, Author, Charles F. Levinson, Author Doubleday Books $17.95 (229p) ISBN 978-0-385-24067-3
Scientific collaboration spiked with fierce competition attended the discovery in the 1970s that the human nervous system produces endorphinsopium-like pain-killersand the pinpointing of the brain's opiate receptors. Today many scientists believe that an over-opiated brain plagues autistic children and heroin addicts alike. Research suggests that acupuncture triggers pain-reducing reactions that are mediated by endorphins. In lucidly discussing these and other advances, Levinthal, a Hofstra (New York) psychology professor, interweaves the history of opium (a popular 19th century nostrum) and an account of the chemical treatment of pain, schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, depression and stress. Of special interest are his speculations that endorphins were crucial to the long evolutionary journey from the reptilian brain to the ""new mammal'' brain that dominates our thought processes today. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
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