Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Neurology of Angels by Krista Tibbs

Genre: Fiction
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 272
Book Source: Author Krista Tibbs very kindly sent me this copy

The Neurology of Angels is a novel about the hearts inside the business and politics of drug development and the consequences of a choice between saving one child and treating thousands. Galen is a neuroscientist and entrepreneur who loses everything to develop a cure for stroke. Eddy is a devoted father who enters politics on a mission to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Elizabeth is a pharmaceutical industry lawyer who is raising a daughter with a rare and fatal genetic illness. Their families become forever entwined as the three parents engage in a tug-of-war over a failing system of good intentions. In the wake, heroes are born.

Neurology of Angels is a touching story and whilst fiction it feels like it's based in truth. It isn't a light read, the scientific terminology is quite weighty but as a former nurse and mother of children with medical issues I found it an extremely interesting and worthwhile read. The story focuses on drug research, development, testing and approval in the US but many of the issues are relevant to us in Australia and probably worldwide. This book is more than just the science and politics of drug development and approval though, it involves 'real' people battling loss and heartache.

Galen is working on the development of a drug treatment for the neurological disease that killed his former fiancee and best friend's sister. Eddy's daughter Isabel develops the same disease resulting in Eddy's move into politics to lobby for change in legislation to improve accessibility of drugs. Attorney Elizabeth lives each day with hope and fear that a treatment will become available before it's too late for her daughter. Elizabeth's daughter Sera has VWM disease(Vanishing White Matter.) The characters are so realistically written, you can't help but identify and empathise with them and become involved in their daily lives.

In Australia we are fortunate to have a government subsidised system for pharmaceuticals but new, expensive drugs are not PBS listed immediately, this can take years, so while a cost-effective treatment exists, more condition-effective or possibly life-saving medications may only be accessible to those who can afford them.

My apologies for the long winded review but I feel very strongly about the issues highlighted in The Neurology of Angels and appreciated the care taken by Krista in drawing attention to the intrinsic difficulties in creating a win-win system. Finding a balance between pharmaceutical companies seeing a profit to advance their company and conduct further research and new drug development and having drugs available and affordable for all who need them. Establishing the fine line between approving drugs that are safe for use in a timely manner and bureaucracy gone mad. No clear cut answers but what is clear is the need for a fresh look at the big picture, a new system not an overhaul of a tired, old system. Only then will sustainable change without needless loss of life be a possibility.

My thanks to Krista for the opportunity to read and review her book, I really enjoyed it. Visit Krista Tibbs' website to find out more about this author and her work.

This month on The Eclectic Reader one lucky reader will win one of four books. Check this blog post for details. International entrants welcome.


  1. Wonderful review!
    Even if I do think that this one is not for me

  2. Sounds like there is a lot to learn about pharmaceutical companies and how all of that works...I can see how this would be interesting to someone who has experienced this. Great and heartfelt review.

  3. Wow, these are things I have never given much thought to! That was a great review!

  4. I think this book sounds fascinating and the highlighted issues quite relevant in society today. I have several medical problems and take a good amount of meds so I am familiar with the cost of pharmaceutical drugs. Some are exhorbitant! And with the way insurance is changing and tightening their belts, many drugs aren't available to the majority of people who really need them.
    I could go on and on....and on! I am excited that Krista Tibbs wrote a novel centered around these issues. It's one good way to bring them to the attention of the public.

    Thanks for an awesome review! I hope I have the chance to read this book very soon!
    ~ Amy

  5. Great review and it sounds like a fascinating book. You certainly did it justice with your review.

  6. Hi Teddyree

    Excellent review of another hard read, not sure I would have made it to the end. A friend's daughter was born with only a partial brain, I know from birth she was in therapy, as well as a horrible prognosis. My friend quit her job and disassociated, I have no idea of her daughter's outcome. Terrifying for any mother.

    I do agree the health care system needs to change world wide, there are too many have nots to the haves, and even here in the US where everyone is supposed to have access to outstanding health care, it's not the case. Outstanding health care are for those with optimal insurance and very deep pockets. Sad but true. Sorry, end of rant... it's an issue I feel strongly about...



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