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This riveting narrative explores the world of placebos, hypnosis, false memories, and neurology to reveal the groundbreaking science of our suggestible minds. Could the secrets to personal health lie within our own brains? Journalist Erik Vance explores the surprising ways our expectations and beliefs influence our bodily responses to pain, disease, and everyday events. Drawing on centuries of research and interviews with leading experts in the field, Vance takes us on a fascinating adventure from Harvard's research labs to a witch doctor's office in Catemaco, Mexico,ato an alternative medicine school near Beijing (often called oChina's Hogwartso). Vance's firsthand dispatches will change the way you think-and feel.a Continuing the success of National Geographic's brain books and rounding out our pop science category, this book shows how expectations, beliefs, and self-deception can actively change our bodies and minds. Vance builds a case for our ointernal pharmacyo-the very real chemical reactions our brains produce when we think we are experiencing pain or healing, actual or perceived. Supporting this idea is centuries of placebo research in a range of forms, from sugar pills to shock waves; studies of alternative medicine techniques heralded and condemned in different parts of the world (think crystals and chakras); and most recently, major advances in brain mapping technology. Thanks to this technology, we're learning how we might leverage our suggestibility (or lack thereof) for personalized medicine, and Vance brings us to the front lines of such study.
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About the Author

ERIK VANCE is a science writer based in California and Mexico City. He graduated with honors from Principia College in Illinois in 1999 with a degree in biology. After working on a number of research projects dealing with dolphin intelligence and coastal ecology, he became an environmental educator and then an environmental consultant. But it wasn't until enrolling in UC Santa Cruz's science communication program that he discovered his true passion for journalism. There he learned that only through compelling characters can stories touch and inspire us. As such, he has molded his career around science-based profiles of inspiring, dedicated, or controversial figures in society. His work has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nature, the New York Times, The Utne Reader, Discoveramagazine, and The Christian Science Monitor. He is currently under contract with Harper's Magazine and National Geographic.

Reviews

-An eye-opening exploration of the intersection between philosophy and science and a fascinating peek into our innermost selves.- --Kirkus Reviews -Science journalist Vance takes an inspired journey into the profound and often unnoticed powers of our brains.- --Publishers Weekly

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