This led him to study fentanyl-induced amnesia, as recorded in a 2018 report in the New England Journal of Medicine, and observed in a cluster of Massachusetts patients. In some people, fentanyl kills neurons in the hippocampus – a region of the brain that is already at risk for oxygen deprivation that occurs during overdose – and the cells go out of control.
Because the syndrome is so rare, he encountered some doctors who were skeptical about the connection between fentanyl and amnesia. The book explores how others, such as Jade Barash, the medical director of the Chelsea, Massachusetts Soldiers Home, firmly followed the answers, ultimately confirming how opioids can damage the hippocampus.
“These Alzheimer's researchers and neuroscientists are heroes. We are indebted to them for their gratitude, because I think if they are not cured in the end there will be at least some treatment, ”he says.
Aguirre, who is currently working on a book on medical fiction, credited MIT with his willingness to make the leap. “Just being able to survive there has given me the confidence to believe that in the end, if you work hard enough, you can get things out,” he says.