An inspiring true story about an experimental treatment of "encephalitis lethargica" with L-Dopa, a newly discovered drug at that time. The setting was in the 1960s and many of the patients with the above condition, were left in a catatonic state after a mysterious illness swept through in the 1920s. The administration of L dopa to these patients triggered a miraculous "cure" and many of them were brought back to "life".
Unfortunately, as we know now, chronic L dopa administration has its long term side effects which were brilliantly acted out by Robert De Niro, playing a patient by the name of Leonard Lowe, for which he was nominated for an Oscar for this role. After a successful result, he began to experience freezing, dyskinetic movements and eventually dose failure. Despite an initial dramatic result, this effect was never reproduced, likely due to downregulation of the dopamine receptors.
This story parallels many of the dilemmas in treating Parkinson's disease. L dopa is now reserved for use after treatment failure, or to complement other anti-parkinsonian drugs. Their side effects remain a stumbling block to an otherwise apparently straight forward "cure" for Parkinson's Disease.
It did however, highlight the fact that many of us take for granted the simplest of things. Things that would almost be impossible for those less fortunate. Perhaps then we should be thankful that we are able to get up on Monday mornings and travel to work, despite all the perceived stresses that we so often dread.