Obituaries

Melvin Yahr

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7434.290 (Published 29 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:290

Neurologist who revolutionised the treatment of Parkinson's disease

Melvin D Yahr was a pioneer in the development of the amino acid L-dopa as a treatment for Parkinson's disease. In the 1960s he conducted one of the earliest randomised clinical trials of L-dopa—a precursor of dopamine—which showed that the drug could help “unfreeze” people who had the disease, easing symptoms such as rigidity and tremors. The writer and neurologist Olivers Sacks described in his 1974 book Awakenings—later made into a film—how using L-dopa in people with Parkinson's virtually brought statues to life. Nowadays L-dopa remains the most widely used treatment for Parkinson's, …

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