How to make pharmaceutical R&D worthy of James Bond-like drama? It’s not easy, but Ann Patchett gamely tries. An American drug company based in the dull stretches of Minnesota is racing to develop the holy grail of fertility drugs—a simple pill to allow women to get pregnant at any age. The stockholders are rubbing their palms rapaciously at the mere thought.
Deep in the far reaches of the Amazon rainforest along the banks of the Rio Negro, the Lakashi tribe have been living quietly, procreating without fanfare well into their eighth decade. An elusive but brilliant scientist, Dr Annick Swenson, has discovered that these women gnaw on the bark of a rare tree deep in the jungle, and that the bark imparts fertile longevity that would make an IVF clinic blush. Read the full review in The Lancet.