Oliver Sacks, M.D. is professor of neurology and psychiatry Columbia University and a Columbia University Artist. He is also a consultant neurologist to the Little Sisters of the Poor in New York City. His main clinical interests are in movement and sensory disorders, disorders of consciousness,memory and awareness, and neurological adaptation. He does not consult on pediatric cases.
In 1966, Sacks encountered an extraordinary group of patients, many of whom had spent decades in strange, frozen states,unable to initiate movement. He recognized these patients as survivors of the great pandemic of encephalitis lethargica that had swept the world from 1916 to 1927, and treated them with a then-experimental drug, L-dopa, which enabled them to come to life. They became the subjects of his book Awakenings, which later inspired a play by Harold Pinter and the Oscar-nominated Hollywood movie with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.
Sacks is the author of a number of books of neurological case histories, including Musicophilia, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on Mars, in which he describes patients living with conditions ranging from Tourette’s Syndrome to autism, parkinsonism, musical hallucinations, phantom limb syndrome, schizophrenia, retardation and Alzheimer’s disease. He has written about the parkinsonism-dementia complex of Guam (as well as a rare community of achromatopic people) in The Island of the Colorblind. He has also written about his experiences as a doctor in Migraine and as a patient in A Leg to Stand On.
Sacks's work has been supported by the Guggenheim and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundations. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (UK), the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Neurological Association, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Education and Training:
- Undergraduate: Queen, B.A.,, Physiology and Biology, 1951-1954
- Graduate: Middlesex Hospital and Univ of Oxford, M.A., B.M., B. Ch. (equiv to M.D.), 1955-1958
- Medical School: , see above
- Internship: Middlesex Hospital, 1959
- Residency: Mt. Zion Hospital, rotating internship, 1961-1962
- Residency: UCLA, neurology and neuropathology, 1962-1965
- Board Certifications: none
2 Horatio St. #3G
New York, NY 10014
1. Sacks O: Awakenings, Doubleday, New York, NY, 1973
2. Sacks O: The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. 1985
3. Sacks O: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. 2007
4. Sacks O: An Anthropologist on Mars. 1985
5. Sacks O: A Leg to Stand On. 1984