Adrenaline by Brian B. Hoffman

By Brian B. Hoffman

Inducing highs of pleasure, anger, and terror, adrenaline fuels the extremes of human event. a hurry empowers superhuman feats in emergencies. Risk-taking junkies search to duplicate this sense in risky recreations. And a surge might actually scare us to loss of life. Adrenaline brings us in control at the interesting molecule that drives a few of our such a lot powerful experiences.

Adrenaline used to be came across in 1894 and fast made its means out of the lab into clinics world wide. during this engrossing account, Brian Hoffman examines adrenaline in all its capacities, from an essential regulator of physiological capabilities to the topic of Nobel Prize–winning breakthroughs. simply because its biochemical pathways are prototypical, adrenaline has had frequent software in hormone study resulting in the advance of strong new medicines. Hoffman introduces the scientists to whom we owe our realizing, tracing the trails in their discoveries and aspirations and permitting us to understand the the most important position adrenaline has performed in pushing smooth drugs forward.

Hoffman additionally investigates the vibrant, every now and then lurid, position adrenaline occupies within the renowned mind's eye, the place bills of its life-giving and deadly houses usually go away the area of truth. recognized because the catalyst of the “fight or flight” reaction, adrenaline has additionally acquired forensic awareness as an ideal poison, untraceable within the bloodstream—and rumors persist of its strength to restore the useless. actual to the spirit of its subject, Adrenaline is a stimulating trip that unearths the reality at the back of adrenaline’s clinical significance and enduring well known attraction.

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This chapter describes Oliver’s seminal initial experiments and his follow-up collaborative work that led to the discovery of the substance in the adrenal glands that was later named adrenaline. The scientific and ethical aspects of his initial experiments are addressed from a modern-day perspective. The chapter concludes with an account of how Oliver’s work had a major impact on the acceptance of the hypothesis that glands secrete active substances into the blood. 34 A Country Doctor’s Remarkable Discovery 35 George Oliver’s Provocative Experiment In 1865, George Oliver graduated in medicine from University College London, where he learned from Professor William Sharpey about the importance of careful clinical measurements.

We now know that glycogen is a starch, a huge molecule with thousands of glucose molecules strung together in chains with many branches. Bernard discovered that glycogen stores in the liver could be broken down to glucose, and that the freed glucose could be secreted into the bloodstream. This discovery represented an exciting, newly revealed interaction between organs: the liver influences other organs by providing them with glucose, a source of energy. The liver was well known to secrete bile into the gallbladder via a special duct; Bernard termed secretions into ducts external secretions.

In 1856, soon after learning about Addison’s new disease, Brown-Séquard began studying the adrenal glands. He removed them from cats, dogs, rabbits, and guinea pigs and reported that the animals died within a day following surgery. However, his experiments soon became highly controversial. One of those who took issue with Brown-Séquard’s work was George Harley, who graduated in medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1850. As a student he became locally famous for delivering a live, premature baby by Caesarean section immediately after the mother’s death, single-handedly and without any prior experience.

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