Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery

Jeff Goldberg, Author Bantam Books $17.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-553-05261-9
An international race during the 1970s among scientists in the U.S. and Scotland to isolate endorphinsnatural, morphine-like substances present in the brainis recounted in clear and colorful detail by science writer Goldberg (coauthor of Flowers in the Blood). He gives an account of the discovery (by the team of Hans Kosterlitz and John Hughes, in a poorly funded lab in Aberdeen) of a nonaddictive narcotic chemical in pigs' brains, and then follows with a contrasting account of the high-tech research conducted by scientists at American universities on opiate receptors and experiments designed to stimulate natural pain-blocking, much of the American effort motivated by the need to combat heroin addiction. In 1976, the controversy-fraught laboratory competition was superceded by the race among drug companies to develop the most successful of the 20 types of opiate peptides; the prize would be domination of a market serving an estimated 20 million chronic pain sufferers in the U.S. alone. While some researchers have sought inconclusively to establish a relationship between endorphins and mental illness, others have focused on a proposed linkage between endorphins and pleasure, learning, stress and sexual response. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-0-553-34631-2
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-62873-426-3
Paperback - 191 pages - 978-1-62636-193-5
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