Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery: The Race to Find the Body's Own Morphine

Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery: The Race to Find the Body's Own Morphine

by Jeff Goldberg


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Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery: The Race to Find the Body's Own Morphine by Jeff Goldberg

The story of endorphins—the body’s own morphine.

“Fascinating.” -- The New Yorker

The exciting story of the race to discover endorphins—opiate-like chemicals in the brain—and their links to:

  • drug addiction
  • runner’s high
  • appetite control
  • sexual response
  • mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia

    In late 1973, scientists John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz spent the majority of their time in an underfunded, obscure, and cramped laboratory in Aberdeen, Sweden. While working on the brains of pigs, the duo discovered a nonaddictive narcotic chemical that they hoped to later find in human brains. If they could isolate this chemical in humans, perhaps they could find a way to help the world begin to heal itself. Hughes and Kosterlitz’s research would inevitably lead them to discover endorphins, the body’s own natural morphine and the chemical that makes it possible to feel both pain and pleasure.

    Announcing their findings to the scientific world thrust Hughes and Kosterlitz in the spotlight and made them celebrities. Soon, scientists all over the world were hastily examining the human brain and its endorphins. In a few years’ time, they would use the team’s initial research to link endorphins to drug addiction, runner’s high, appetite control, sexual response, and mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia.

    In Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery, Jeff Goldberg describes Hughes and Kosterlitz’s lives before, during, and after their historic and scientific breakthrough. He also takes a look at the bigger picture, revealing the brutal competition between drug companies to find a way to cash in on this monumental discovery.

  • Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9781626361935
    Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
    Publication date: 09/01/2013
    Pages: 200
    Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

    About the Author

    Jeff Goldberg’s on-the-scene account of the discovery of endorphins in Anatomy of a Scientific Discovery established him as a leading science writer. His articles on topics ranging from the controversy of fetal cell transplantation to the amazing minds of infants appeared in Life, Discover, Omni, and other magazines internationally. Goldberg is the author of Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium, and the novel Notes on a Bamboo Flute. He resides in South Orange, New Jersey.

    Table of Contents

    Introduction to the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition 1

    Slaughterhouse Days 4

    Brain Soup 11

    Locks and Keys 22

    Substance X 39

    Breaking the Code 59

    Alpha, Beta, Gamma 81

    The Madness Factor 94

    The Endorphin Business 115

    Families 131

    Rats and Runners 144

    The Symphony and the Orchestra 156

    Index 175

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