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Seize the Moment Podcast

May 1, 2022

On episode 129, we welcome Dr. Sara Manning Peskin to discuss her new book ‘A Molecule Away from Madness’; the fascinating stories of the scientists who discovered the molecules that cause neurological diseases and their cures, including Alois Alzheimer (who discovered the tangles and plaques of Alzheimer’s) and Joseph Goldberger (who helped discover the cause of pellagra by ingesting pills of poop with others in “filth parties”; how those scientists found the courage and resolve to fight for their discoveries when their colleagues mocked and ignored them; how diets, genes, antibodies, and proteins create neurological illnesses; Abraham Lincoln’s drastic personality change from mercury-laced prescription pills; the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and pseudo-dementia in the chronically mentally ill; how our tools have helped us distinguish the subtle differences of various disorders and their implications for treatment; the profound personal stories of individuals struggling with those ailments; and why the behavior related to neurological illnesses is often excused while we tend to lack empathy for those struggling with mental illness.

Sara Manning Peskin, MD, MS is an assistant professor of clinical neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is part of both the Penn Memory Center and the Penn Frontotemporal Dementia Center. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her new book, out now, is called A Molecule Away from Madness.

Sarah Manning Peskin |

► Website |

► A Molecule Away from Madness |

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