Brainstorming: The Science and Politics of Opiate Research

Solomon Halbert Snyder, Author Harvard University Press $26.5 (208p) ISBN 978-0-674-08048-5
In response to Nixon's call for a war on drugs in 1972, Congress appropriated funds which enabled Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Snyder and Candace Pert, his graduate student, to discover the ``opiate receptor.'' Heroin and morphine molecules fit into this nerve-cell structure the way a key fits into a car ignition. Yet the search for non-addicting opiates as a solution to drug addiction ultimately proved futile. In a modestly written account interspersed with diagrams and photographs, Snyder describes the steps that led to his noteworthy discovery. He examines chemical treatments of schizophrenia and looks at the brain's natural morphine-like mood regulator, enkephalin, whose discovery led pharmaceutical manufacturers on a costly wild-goose chase. With dry humor he discusses how the politics of science impinged on his relationships with the White House, rival labs and drug companies. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
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