The mind influences physiology in many ways — from stress to sexual arousal — so it has always seemed reasonable to me that it might impact health. Every decision you make — what to write about, who to talk to, what quotes to include — gives a piece a certain perspective, which would be different if someone else had written it.
What can the mind really do? There are probably as many different answers to science writer jo marchant question as there are interviewees. I had dramatically different outcomes when supported by midwives I knew and trusted, compared to a series of strangers.
Marchant reminds us at every turn that more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of many of the brain related health benefits she talks about, but still I was reminded of Oliver Sacks, Sam Kean, Bill Bryson, and others who have the wonderful gift of presenting the work of specialists and cases of subjects they describe in such a clear and interesting way that the nonspecialist reader feels that highly technical subjects are really quite understandable after all.
I also experienced the value of social support when giving birth to my two children. Know what you want to say in each sentence and pride yourself on doing it in the fewest words possible.
This influences physiological functions such as hormone levels and immune responses, and works regardless of our conscious beliefs. Without discounting the amazing advances of modern drugs and surgical techniques, she advocates an approach which also recognizes the importance of human relationships and support.
The misunderstandings and false claims science writer jo marchant one of the elements that drew me to the topic of mind-body medicine in the first place. Marchant answered questions from Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook. Perhaps one day this realization might help lead towards a system of medicine that combines the best of both worlds: Now, though, a growing body of scientific research suggests that our mind can play an important role in healing our body — or in staying healthy in the first place.
It is sometimes used to cover anyone who feels better after receiving placebo or fake treatment, which of course includes all those people who would have improved anyway. And we learn how simply hearing the right words from your caregiver can determine whether or not you need surgery — and even how long you live.
Yet the question has become so polarized: There are now several lines of research suggesting that our mental perception of the world constantly informs and guides our immune system in a way that makes us better able to respond to future threats.
But researchers are finding that taking a placebo can also have specific, measurable effects on the brain and body. Fake oxygen, given to someone at altitude, has been shown to cut levels of neurotransmitters called prostaglandins which dilate blood vessels, among other things, and are responsible for many of the symptoms of altitude sickness.
And in those two words, I felt that she summed up one of the major philosophical battles in medicine today.
I wanted to look at why it is so difficult to have a reasoned debate about this issue. You have taken on a topic where, historically, there has been a tremendous amount of quackery. I was interested in those clashing philosophies: Above all, be aware of what your article is trying to achieve.
Stupid-sounding questions are often the ones that get right to the heart of why something is important. And have you read a recent peer-reviewed paper that you would like to write about?
What is known about what the placebo effect actually is, and what do you see as the biggest open questions?
Despite having read fairly recently some other books which described ways that the brain can alter perceptions of reality and physical systems in the body, I am generally skeptical about the power of things like hypnosis, meditation, and mindfulness to cure physical ailments things like that seem more plausible to me as remedies for depression and stress.
And we look at how our perception of the world around us influences our physical makeup, right down to the activity of our genes. What convinced you that there was a compelling scientific story to tell?
For example, the popular image of the genome as an instruction book has a lot going for it, conveying the dense information content of DNA and the idea that it can be faithfully copied over and over.
What do you leave out of your stories?
When I tried Snow World, the researchers used a heated box to simulate a burn to my foot — it was quite painful outside the game, but once immersed, I had so much fun I barely noticed it.
The second half of the book moves beyond the immediate effects of thoughts and beliefs to look at how our state of mind shapes disease risk throughout our lives. How do you use metaphors and analogies in a story? Please send suggestions to Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook. How does it work, and why?
This is another therapy I got to try — researchers in Seattle have developed a virtual reality landscape called Snow World. I once whimsically described the Antikythera mechanism an ancient Greek clockwork device that models the motions of the sun, moon and planets as a "time machine" because by winding the handle you can simulate how the sky will look at any moment in the past, present or future.Science writer Jo Marchant says that the mind can play an important role in dealing with a variety of health concerns, including pain, heart disease and depression.
Marchant's new book is Cure. Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body and millions of other books are available for instant access.
In Cure, award-winning science writer Jo Marchant travels the world to meet the physicians, patients and researchers on the cutting edge of this new world of medicine.
We learn how meditation protects against depression and /5(). The Shadow King: The bizarre afterlife of King Tut’s mummy Published in June Award-winning science writer Jo Marchant traces the story of King Tutankhamun’s mummy from its first brutal autopsy in to the most recent arguments over its DNA.
From the glamorous treasure hunts of the s to today’s high-tech scans in volatile [ ]. This guest post comes from writer Jo Marchant, author of the excellent Decoding the Heavens, and describes some ground she, George Zarkadakis, Alok Jha and I covered in a panel session on literary.
The Paperback of the Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant at Barnes & Noble. FREE Shipping on $ or more! Favorite Paperbacks: Buy 2, Get the 3rd Free In Cure, award-winning science writer Jo Marchant travels the world to meet the physicians, patients and researchers on the cutting edge of this new world of 5/5(2).
Award-winning science writer Jo Marchant travels the world to meet the physicians, patients, and researchers on the cutting edge of this new world of medicine in her extraordinary book, CURE, A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body/5.Download