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Cure by Jo Marchant

CURE, by Jo Marchant, tours recent developments in mind-body science and provides an overview of the popular science that now validates what has previously been categorized as quackery. The author explains as much of the why and how of the power of the mind when it comes to the placebo effect, hypnosis, mindfulness and more. Reading the book leaves one with a new understanding of how our mind can change the way we feel and lengthen and improve the quality of our lives.

Did you know that the hippocampi of elderly people who help the young actually grow instead of shrink as they age?

Marchant dedicates a whole section of the book to discussing how people can benefit from the placebo effect. In fact, there exists an entire area of enquiry focused on conditioning responses to placebos in the same way that Pavlov’s dog was conditioned to salivate for food. For example, it is possible to take less of a potent drug when combined to a placebo. Depending on the country you are in, something as simple as the color of the placebo can dictate your body’s reaction to it. The book includes many other fun facts about placebo’s relevance in other countries, and there are lots of interesting observation about how we can improve our twilight years. Did you know that the hippocampi of elderly people who help the young actually grow instead of shrink as they age?

There are many non-pharmacological, mindful solutions for disease and longevity.

CURE is a terrific introduction to how neuroscience and genetics are providing scientific answers to what we already know: that there are many non-pharmacological, mindful solutions for disease and longevity. As Marchant says “…it seems clear that we don’t inherit from our parents a single ‘biological self.”

The book is quite ambitious, however, and leaves some gaping holes such as when it comes to cognitive behavioral therapy. Nevertheless, the book covers enough ground in a serious way as be informative, interesting and fun.

Jo Marchant photo credit Garry Simpson

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