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His Brother's Keeper: a Story from the Edge of Medicine.

JONATHAN WEINER

Although they lived on opposite coasts and had very different jobs, the brothers Stephen and Jamie Heywood were best friends. When Stephen, the younger brother, was diagnosed with the fatal disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, at age 29, Jamie quit his job as a mechanical engineer and transformed himself into a genetics expert in an effort to find a cutting-edge therapy that could save his brother's life, Weiner, a science writer who won a Pulitzer prize for his last book, Beak of the Finch, learned of the Heywoods and became immersed in their lives, employing his reporter's prowess to aid Jamie's research. The two talked to scores of scientists who appear to be on the brink of breakthroughs in regenerative medicine but whose work is rife with ethical dilemmas and political roadblocks, Here Weiner recounts that experience and examines two of the most politically charged matters facing medicine today: stem cell research and genetic engineering. Stephen's condition and the efforts of his brother to help him provide Weiner an opportunity to humanize intellectually challenging topics. ECCO, 2004, 356 p., hardcover, $26.95.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 18, 2004
Words:190
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