Three times a day I take a drug called levodopa. I take it because my brain does not produce enough dopamine, without it my hands and feet shake and I have difficulty getting my body to do what I want it to do. These are symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and mean that many of my dopamine producing neurons have died. But, thanks to levodopa, I can feed my brain synthetic dopamine.
It is an incredible little drug that we discovered to be naturally produced in the broad bean plant, pictured here. (The fact that nature makes in this plant the exact molecule that is missing in my brain leaves me dumb-founded.) In the first half of the 20th century we figured out how to chemically produce the compound, allowing us to manufacture it in mass quantities and distribute it to Parkinson’s disease patients world-wide. That we figured all that out is a testament to …
READ MORE ON FUTURISM.COM