HEAD FIRST: The Biology of Hope by Norman Cousins
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HEAD FIRST: The Biology of Hope

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Cousins (Anatomy of an Illness, The Healing Heart, etc.) continues his optimistic report to the nation on the role of positive emotions in promoting mental and physical well-being. As readers of his last several books know, Cousins overcame a severe heart attack and a number of other ailments by cultivating a sunny outlook and an intense will to survive. His triumphs caught the attention of the medical profession, and in the early 1970's he was invited to join the faculty of the medical school at UCLA to continue his work in psychoneuroimmunology (the study of the relation between mind and immune system). Here, Cousins reports on his years at UCLA, on the research projects he counseled, on the patients, students, and physicians he guided into new ways of looking at health. He calls for more compassion and better bedside manners among doctors; blasts internship as ""a human meat grinder""; salutes the increased numbers of women in medical school; warns against overreliance on antibiotics and aspirin; tells some great jokes; provides an ""honor roll"" of mind/body researchers and a bibliography of funny books and cassettes; looks at physicians in literature. On the more scholarly side, he explains the results of numerous case studies in psychoneuroimmunology, all pointing to his general conclusion that ""the human body is far more robust than people have been led to believe."" Warm, chock-full of happy anecdotes, sure to lift the spirits of the sick and their friends and relatives. This is, in fact, a literary ann of the inspirational counseling Cousins does so often and so well in person. As such, a generous contribution to the commonweal.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1989
Publisher: Dutton