Tag Archives: pharmacology

Valenstein, Elliot S. The War of the Soups and the Sparks: The Discovery of Neurotransmitters and the Dispute Over How Nerves Communicate

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The War of the Soups and the Sparks tells the saga of the dispute between the pharmacologists, who had uncovered the first evidence that nerves communicate by releasing chemicals, and the neurophysiologists, experts on the nervous system, who dismissed the evidence and remained committed to electrical explanations.
The War of the Soups and the Sparks reveals how science and scientists work. Valenstein describes the observations and experiments that led to the discovery of neurotransmitters and sheds light on what determines whether a novel concept will gain acceptance among the scientific community. His work also explains the immense importance of Otto Loewi, Henry Dale, and Walter B. Cannon’s achievements in our understanding of the human brain and the way mental illnesses are conceptualized and treated.

Publisher: Columbia University Press
Year: 2007
ISBN-10: 0231135890

Pharmacopoeia. Cradle to Grave

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Cradle to Grave explores our approach to health in Britain today. The piece incorporates a lifetime supply of prescribed drugs knitted into two lengths of fabric, illustrating the medical stories of one woman and one man.

Each length contains over 14,000 drugs, the estimated average prescribed to every person in Britain in their lifetime. This does not include pills we might buy over the counter, which would require about 40,000 pills each.

Cradle to Grave is displayed in the British Museum in the ‘Living and Dying’ exhibition room (The Wellcome Trust Gallery)

There is an excellent website that explores the artwork in more detail and lets you look individually at the ‘man’ and ‘woman’ whose stories are told in the piece.>click here<

Just as an example of some of the patterns represented in the work the two screen grabs below show the pills consumed before the age of 50 – with the impact of contraceptive pill use apparent simply in the longer band for the woman (don’t worry the man soon catches up!)

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