Kuvaus

Picador 1997 nid.

Neurologist Sacks, famed for his investigations of unusual medical conditions (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, etc.), went to Micronesia in 1993 to study firsthand two rare disorders: achromatopsia, or total congenital color blindness, which afflicts more than 5% of the population on the islands of Pingelap and Pohnpei; and lytico-bodig, a fatal, progressive neurodegenerative disease common in Guam, causing paralysis, dementia and catatonia.

His total immersion in island life makes this luminous, beautifully written report a wondrous voyage of discovery. Most of those born color-blind never learn to read because they cant see the teachers writing on the board; they cant work outdoors in bright light, and are unable to see fine detail; yet many achromatopes, Sacks found, develop acute compensatory memory skills and curiosity and thus live in a world of heightened reality.

On Guam he visited families tragically scarred by lytico-bodig, a disease blamed by some scientists on the natives ingestion of cycad trees toxic seeds; other researchers suspect that the cause can be traced to a virus, diet as a whole or genetics.

With aplomb, Sacks wears many hats? cultural anthropologist, naturalist, explorer, ethnographer, neuroscientist?as he delves into the islands volcanic origins, their archeological wonders (e.g., Pohnpeis megalithic ruins, remnants of a monumental civilization), their unique flora and fauna (nocturnal tree-climbing snakes, iridescent ferns, dwarf forests), their bloody colonial history under Spanish and German rule, their still active indigenous myths. As a travel writer, Sacks ranks with Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin. As an investigator of the minds mysteries, he is in a class by himself....

Hakusanoja: Awakenings - mies joka luuli vaimoaan hatuksi värisokeus heimot

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