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Manzanita Writers Series to discuss drugs, medicine

Manzanita Writers’ Series presents author Thomas Hager and local physician Larry Zagata at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at Hoffman Center for the Arts. Admission is $7.

Author Thomas Hager. – Courtesy photo

Hager will be reading from his new book, 10 Drugs: How Plants, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine. Zagata MD FACEP (Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians) will join him in conversation on how pharmaceuticals have influenced current practices.

Behind every landmark drug is a story: an oddball researcher’s genius insight, a catalyzing moment in geopolitical history, a new breakthrough technology, or an unexpected but welcome side effect discovered during clinical trials.

Piece together these stories, as Hager does in this remarkable, century-spanning history, and you can trace the evolution of our culture and the practice of medicine.

Beginning with opium, the “joy plant,” which has been used for 10,000 years, Hager tells a captivating story of medicine. His subjects include the largely forgotten female pioneer who introduced smallpox inoculation to Britain, the infamous knockout drops, the first antibiotic, which saved countless lives, the first anti-psychotic, which helped empty public mental hospitals, Viagra, statins, and the new frontier of monoclonal antibodies.

Hager is the author of twelve books on health and science, as well as more than 100 feature and news articles in a variety of popular and professional periodicals. His national awards include the American Chemical Society’s 2017 James T. Grady – James H. Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public. He has been a keynote speaker, invited lecturer, and guest scholar at a number of universities, and has spoken widely to groups ranging from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Goddard Space Center to science pub nights and rotary clubs.

Hager’s work has appeared in a wide range of periodicals, including the Wall St. Journal, Time, The Atlantic, and Reader’s Digest.

Hager is currently a courtesy associate professor of journalism and communication at the University of Oregon. He and his wife, the writer Lauren Kessler, live in Eugene, OR and are also part-time residents of Manzanita.

Physician Larry Zagata. – Courtesy photo

Zagata has been practicing emergency medicine on the North Oregon Coast for over 40 years. After five years in family practice, he transitioned to emergency medicine in the early 1980s. He served as the director of the emergency department at Columbia Memorial Hospital from 1985 through 2015.

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