By Dr.Syed K.Haque
Hollywood movies are infamous for science themes and medical backgrounds. Some movies present pure science friction, others feed on our fear of the unknown. Still others draw on existing medical research and expand the concepts to unknown heights. This holiday season, as we open-up to our TVs and watch movies, below are the top few that fall within our radar of interesting movies with medical themes.
The Andromeda Strain (2008)
In "The Andromeda Strain," a U.S. military satellite crashes in a small town and unleashes a deadly plague killing all but two survivors. As the military quarantines the area, a team of highly specialized scientists is assembled to find a cure to the pathogen code-named "Andromeda," and a reporter investigates a government conspiracy only to discover what he is chasing wants him silenced.
Dr. Bruce Banner, thanks to a gamma ray experiment gone wrong, transforms into a giant green-skinned hulk whenever his pulse rate gets too high. Meanwhile, a soldier uses the same technology to become an evil version of the original.
I am legend (2007)
Robert Neville is a scientist who was unable to stop the spread of the terrible virus that was incurable and man-made. Immune, Neville is now the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and perhaps the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague -- The Infected -- lurk in the shadows... watching Neville's every move... waiting for him to make a fatal mistake. Perhaps mankind's last, best hope, Neville is driven by only one remaining mission: to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus using his own immune blood. But he knows he is outnumbered... and quickly running out of time.
Something the Lord Made (2004)
Alfred Blalock (1899-1964), a cardiologist, leaves Vanderbilt for Johns Hopkins taking with him his lab technician, Vivien Thomas (1910-1985). Thomas, an African-American without a college degree, is a gifted mechanic and tool-maker with hands splendidly adept at surgery. In 1941, Blalock and Thomas take on the challenge of blue babies and invent bypass surgery. After trials on dogs, their first patient is baby Eileen, sure to die without the surgery. In defiance of custom and Jim Crow, Blalock brings Thomas into the surgery to advise him, but when Life Magazine and kudos come, Thomas is excluded. Will he receive his due?
Directed by Penny Marshall. Cast: Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, John Heard, Julie Kavner, Penelope Ann Miller, Max Von Sydow. Based on a true story, Robin Williams plays a research physician who uses an experimental drugo (Dopa) to "awaken" the catatonic victims of a rare disease. Based on the book: Awakenings by Oliver Sacks.