The Science of Suggestibility (start time: 5:00) Scientists are learning more and more about how our expectations and beliefs influence how our bodies, including our neurochemistry, respond to pain and disease. The researchers are discovering that we are very suggestible creatures. But we are not all equally suggestible. Some of us can cure serious ailments even when we’ve knowingly taken a placebo remedy, but others can not. Herein lies a major puzzle that vexes drug manufacturers and medical practitioners. It’s a puzzle that has intrigued Erik Vance, a science journalist, since he nearly died from a severe illness when he was a toddler. His journey is detailed in a book that was just published today. It’s called Suggestible You: Placebos, False Memories, Hypnosis and the Power of Your Astonishing Brain (National Geographic). Listen to How On Earth’s Susan Moran’s interview with Erik Vance.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Alejandro Soto
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 27:43 — 25.4MB)
Mind+Body Science (start time: 4:52): If you’ve ever struggled to decide whether to see a Western conventional doctor or an “alternative” medical practitioner for ailments ranging from a compromised immune system to irritable bowel syndrome, you are aware of a deep divide between the two camps. Dr. Jo Marchant, a British geneticist and science writer, has delved into the science and politics of mind-body connections in her new book. It’s called Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body. She discusses this journey with host Susan Moran. (We played snippets from the interview during the recent pledge-drive show. Thanks to you, listener-members, for your support! And thanks, Crown Publishers, for allowing KGNU to give copies of Cure to those who pledged during the show.
Headlines (0:56 – 4:30) 1) Analyzing the molecular signature from our body’s microbial communities might be used in the future to link suspects to crimes definitively. 2) New research explores whether molecules behave like predatory animals when it comes to foraging for food.
Hosts: Beth Bennett, Susan Moran
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Beth Bennett
Headline Contributor: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker
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Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 24:45 — 22.7MB)