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Oliver Sacks, “Explorer of the Brain”, dies at 82

Oliver Sacks received his medical degree in 1960 from The Queen’s College in Oxford and moved to the United States for his internship at Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco. Sacks wrote a number of case studies about his patients with neurological disorders, the most famous of which was adapted into the 1990 movie starring Robin Williams and Rebert DeNiro, “Awakenings.” The New York Times referred to him as the “poet laureate of contemporary medicine.” His descriptions of people coping with and adapting to neurological conditions or injuries often illuminate the ways in which the normal brain deals with perception, memory and individuality.

We see with the eyes but we see with the brain as well. And seeing with the brain is often called imagination. -Oliver Sacks

In 2006, he received radiation therapy treatment for uveal melanoma in his right eye, which led him to lose stereostopic vision in that same eye. He was, however, able to live a healthy, productive life for nine years before the cancer metastasized into his liver and brain.

He expressed his intent to “live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can”. He added: “I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.”

Sacks died on Sunday, August 30 2015 at the age of 82.