Skip to main content

A First Class Medical Mystery.

Neurologist William Langston. His work plunged him into a medical mystery, and a hot political controversy about the ethics of medicine. In 1982 Langston was called in to examine a number of "frozen" patients, young men and women in the San Francisco Bay Area who suddenly could neither move or speak, though conscious. Langston recognized the signs of Parkinson's disease, and determined that these patients had all used the same batch of tainted heroin. Langston prescribed L-dopa, a treatment for Parkinson's which only provided short-term relief. Then he prescribed a daring new medical procedure: fetal-tissue transplant, and his patients recovered. Langston's new book (co-written by Jon Palfreman) is The Case of the Frozen Addicts: How the solution of an extraordinary medical mystery spawned a revolution in the understanding and treatment of Parkinson's disease (Pantheon).

22:17

Other segments from the episode on August 23, 1995

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, August 23, 1995: Interview with William Langston; Interview with Elaine Tyler May; Review of Herbie Nichols' and Buell Neidlinger's albums "Love, Gloom, Cash, Love" and …

Transcript

Transcript currently not available.

Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

You May Also like

Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?

Advertisement

Recently on Fresh Air Available to Play on NPR

42:37

Anthony Bourdain: The 'Fresh Air' Interview

We listen back to our 2016 interview with the late food writer and TV host, who killed himself in 2018 while in France to film Parts Unknown. Bourdain is the subject of a new documentary, Roadrunner.

08:53

'Schmigadoon!' Is A Star-Studded Parody That's Worth Singing About

Keegan-Michael Key and Cecily Strong play a couple who wander into a magical town where everyone seems to break into song. You don't have to be a fan of musical theater to enjoy this Apple TV+ series.

42:17

US Faces Crossroads On Renewable Energy Future — Go Big or Go Local

NY Times reporter Ivan Penn unpacks the debate over infrastructure: Do we fund huge wind and solar farms with new transmission lines, or go local, with rooftop solar panels, batteries and micro-grids?

There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.

Playing

Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue