Why do we feel the way we feel? How do our thoughts and emotions affect our health? Are our bodies and minds distinct from each other or do they function together as parts of an interconnected system?
In her groundbreaking book Molecules of Emotion, Candace Pert provides startling and decisive answers to these and other challenging questions that scientists and philosophers have pondered for centuries.
Her pioneering research on how the chemicals inside our bodies form a dynamic information network, linking mind and body, is not only provocative, it is revolutionary. By establishing the biomolecular basis for our emotions and explaining these new scientific developments in a clear and accessible way, Pert empowers us to understand ourselves, our feelings, and the connection between our minds and our bodies -- body-minds -- in ways we could never possibly have imagined before.
Molecules of Emotion is a landmark work, full of insight and wisdom and possessing that rare power to change the way we see the world and ourselves.
Pert, a research professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, has been at the forefront of key discoveries in the fields of neuroscience and AIDS therapy, and was intimately involved in the discovery of the brain's opiate receptors in 1972. Her memoir describes some of her breakthroughs while providing very real insight into the processes and politics at the core of modern science. Pert is at her best here when she details the sexism that permeates the upper echelons of the scientific establishment, and when she explains why it is so difficult for women to be taken seriously and to succeed in this male-dominated field. She also does a very credible job of exploding the basic paradigm underlying much of modern human biology--that the brain and the body are two distinct systems. Instead, Pert presents ample and compelling scientific evidence to buttress her belief that both are well-integrated parts of a finely tuned feedback system. Interestingly, she leaves her scientific objectivity and skepticism aside at the close of the book, embracing certain spiritual principles without demanding the type of data she worked so hard to gather earlier in her career. Her ego occasionally gets in the way of her message, as does her own brand of sexism (of one colleague, she says: "And he himself was as gorgeous as his slides--a real hunk!") but, even so, this is an important look at what really goes on inside the human body--and inside the scientific elite.