In Both Sides Now an internationally recognized researcher in neurogenetic disorders shares her personal and professional journey. Having been a member of the team that discovered the first Parkinson's disease-causing gene mutation in the synuclein protein, she realizes she is developing symptoms of the very disease she had researched. Only after facing a disease that can cause complete dependency is she able to forge her independence. It is the story, too, of the new perspective her lifelong fear of birds takes on when she learns that the gene she helped discover is responsible for song learning in the male zebra finch.
Dr. Alice Lazzarini is Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey. During a career researching neurodegenerative disorders, Dr. Lazzarini contributed over 75 papers and abstracts to the scientific literature. Her name is known internationally to researchers in the fields of Huntington disease, Restless Leg Syndrome, Parkinson's disease and Ataxia. In 1994, she published a paper that helped to turn the tide of thinking within the neurology community towards accepting a genetic component to the cause of Parkinson's disease. In 1997, she was part of an international team that discovered PARK1, the first Parkinson's-disease-causing gene mutation in the protein, alpha-synuclein. When she finds herself diagnosed with the very disease for which she helped to find a causative gene, she embarks on a new journey of self-discovery, and experiences the race toward the development of new treatments with an additional sense of urgency. Dr. Lazzarini uses her skill as a counselor, as well as the humor and respect with which she naturally connects to people, to share her unique story with her reader.