I recently stumbled across this cool article on the zombie brain - how sci fi teaches science. Some interesting components include references to child psychiatrist, Dr. Steven Schlozman's new novel "The Zombie Autopsies." While I'm not a big reader of zombie novels (although I love AMC's Walking Dead), I'm always interested in the perspective of experts turning up the science fiction in their fields or related fields. Schlozman's novel seems to use a one-part resident evil, one part cold virus in that the virus was deliberately engineered but can be passed without taking a bite out of helpless victims.
Inserting some facts, the virus would have to completely destroy the frontal lobes to take away higher reasoning and logic functions. If you've watched Walking Dead, you may remember a scene in the secret CDC bunker where the scientist was experimenting with zombie blood and had actually scanned his own wife's brain as she deteriorated, died, and turned zombie. The scene showed the scan of her brain as it shut down and then only a small part started working again.
The article goes on to discuss how such a virus would be made, how we'd probably fight back, and even ties it to actual infectious diseases we face today.
Overall, and interesting article and a promising premise for the book. If the book is half as intriguing as this article, it should be a great read.