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Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine [Paperback]

Candace B. Pert Ph.D.
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 17 1999 0684846349 978-0684846347 1
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.

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From Library Journal

Intrigue at the "Palace": back-stabbing, deceit, shunning, love affairs. This is not the plot to I, Claudius but the account Pert gives of her time working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a.k.a. the Palace. Yet her time at NIH is not the central point here. Nor are the molecules of the title, although they do get due coverage. Pert offers mainly an account of her journey from a conventional scientist to one who also embraces complementary and alternative medicine. The journey is long and not without price. She was passed over for the Lasker and Nobel prizes for her work on opiate receptors while colleagues were recognized; she believes that her development of a potential AIDS drug was thwarted owing to scientific dirty pool as well as her being a woman in a man's world. Along the way, she took control of her career, her life, and her personal mission. This is an eye-opening book for anyone who thinks that people with medical degrees act more civil or are more altruistic than the rest of us, though Pert also shows that some do rise above the fray. Recommended for academic and special libraries.?Lee Arnold, Historical Soc. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Pert, a self-described ``catalyst in the mindbodyspirit revolution in modern medical science,'' and once a chief of brain chemistry at the NIH, freely intermingles vibrant stories of her professional and personal life with her theories about neuropeptides. Currently a research professor at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, Pert may be best known as one of the scientists on Bill Moyers's PBS series Healing and the Mind. In the early 1970s, she made a name for herself with her key role in discovering the brain's opiate receptors. For the next decade, however, owing to her protests over her exclusion from the prestigious Lasker Award, her reputation among scientists was more that of feminist troublemaker than pathfinder. Certainly the picture she draws here of the science establishment would seem to suggest a world of aggressive, even ruthless, alpha males fighting for the top prize. She also traces her own evolution from competitive bench scientist to explorer of personal healing modalities. The death of her father, the end of her marriage, her resignation from the NIH, her embracing of the Christian faith, and her discovery of the healing power of dreams--all were, she says, life-shaping events. Pert also explains her theory that neuropeptides and their receptors are the biochemicals of emotions, carrying information in a vast network linking the material world of molecules with the nonmaterial world of the psyche. Her views on mind-body cellular communication mesh well with the concepts of energy held by many alternative therapies, and she is now, not surprisingly, a popular lecturer on the wellness circuit. Her final chapter describes an eight-part program for a healthy lifestyle, and she has appended an extensive list of alternative medicine resources. Strong scientific support for the mind-body school of medicine, sure to rankle those alpha males back in the labs. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, but only up to a point July 15 2004
"Molecules of Emotion" was certainly not what I expected from the jacket blurbs. Yes, there is some discussion of the scientific discoveries regarding emotion, but only in the first half of the book, and even there, it's a small minority of the content, couched in a personal narrative more centered on Candace Pert's viewpoint of her own career.
Yes, the saddening politics of paper publication, awards selection and grant approval in the world of government- and industry-funded biological research is quite an interesting read for an outsider. It even got my blood boiling to think of the promising therapies that are possibly being ignored due to their lack of profit potential (though this wasn't a new idea to me). It's too bad this ends up being the high point of the book.
From the very beginning, Pert's own ego comes to the fore in places in a way that detracts from the information that I (and presumably some others) bought the book for in the first place. There is something about the way she describes her personal experiences (more extensively and less modestly than might have seemed appropriate for a presentation of important scientific information) that made me wonder how much differently other people must perceive her than she perceives herself (even before she admits as much later on).
Unfortunately, this is not the worst of it. The early content is clearly scientifically validated, and describes in some detail (just enough for plausibility) the experiments that were conducted and the meaning of the results.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads Like A Thriller Aug. 12 2002
Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert Ph.D. reads like a high tech medical thriller. The fact that it's autobiographical non-fiction never detracts and it proves an intriguing and surprisingly entertaining read. An often controversial and brilliant research scientist, Candace Pert has been on the cutting edge since the early 1970's, particularly in biomolecular medicine. She has contributed enormously to the paradigm shift in scienctific research that lead to proof of the mind-body connection in the laboratory. Her book takes the reader along on her often rocky journey in a burgeoning field and reveals the inside politics of the "old boy" club modern science has yet to outgrow today. Pert makes complicated science seem easy to understand and dishes it up in palatable bites. The plot alternates between a front row seat at one of her popular lectures and the wider view of her life as a scientist. From Ph.D. candidate at Johns Hopkins, controversial NIH insider to extensive lecturer, she shows the dark side of her professional journey as well as the gratifying career-making highs. She touches on her roles as a wife, mother of three and decidedly feminine woman in an alpha male field. What many will find truely thrilling about this book is the revolutionary science behind mind-body medicine and the promise of a brighter future for all humanity as the science is put into practice. A "must read" for nearly everyone. Of particular interest to women embarking on a career in the sciences or mind-body medicine advocates.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Dec 4 2011
By SueI
Candice Pert's book finally makes the connection between hard core science and the "subjective" world of emotions. It shows how much more control we have over our lives and our health than previously thought. Candice brings the basics of biology to a level that all can understand and bridges the gap between the building blocks of our cells and the way we perceive the world. It is great to know that women are making huge inroads into a traditionally male-dominated profession, and bringing their intuition, and proving it empirically. A fascinating read!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad Science Feb. 2 2002
Reading this book was a saddening experience. I don't believe that true personal or planetary healing will ever occur so long as our brothers of the animal kingdom are being killed and mutilated in our search for better health. I found Candace's justifications for experimenting on animals patronizing and arrogant. Refusing to kill animals in the name of science isn't about being squeamish, it's about being compassionate. Monkeys brains really didn't need to be put in a blender to discover the obvious - that there are strong emotional links to disease. And women don't need to be as cruel as their most heartless male collegues to 'prove' anything to them. It's going to take some people with great hearts as well as great minds to make the big steps needed for the healing of humanity.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Body, Mind and Spirit April 18 2014
From the introduction:

"Writing this book was an attempt to put down on paper, in a much more detailed and usable form, the material I've been presenting in lectures."

"My goal in writing, as in speaking, was twofold: to explain the science underlying the new bodymind medicine, and to give enough practical information about implications of that science, and about the therapies and practitioners embodying it, to enable my readers to make the best possible choices about personal health and well-being."

Unfortunately little effort was made to truly adapt those lectures to the book form. They are often direct transpositions like if the author was still speaking to an audience. I found this irritating at times. On the other hand, the fact that the book is derived from lectures makes it a captivating read. There was not a dull moment, as it should be for any lecture.

It is important to specify that this book is not a scientific treaty. I mention this because many reviewers were disappointed that it was not. While the book never pretended to be a scientific treaty, I can understand than some readers might have been mislead by the title. I think the best way to characterize this book is to say that it is a scientific story. Other reviewers have mentioned that it can be compared to "The Double Helix" by James Watson. Except that it would be the story of the discovery of the double helix as seen from the point of view of Rosalind Franklin! For a large portion of this book is dedicated to the discovery of the first molecule of emotion by the author who recounts how she felt betrayed by her mentor. The story of this misappropriation occupies a large portion of the book, but it is a fascinating read into the politics of science.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A library worth having for every healer
There are books which pretend to be a reference point, and there are those which not only are, but also exceed readers' expectations. These are some of those! Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2005 by Shirley McMadden RN
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, a little slow at times
Candace Pert is amazing, a great and courageous scientist. Her book shows how emotions and cells work together. Read more
Published on June 30 2004 by MCD
3.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography of a Scientist
After reading about Candace Pert's discoveries in numerous magazine articles, I decided to read her book to learn more. What I learned about was Candace Pert. Read more
Published on May 18 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars It is more an autobiography then anything else
This book came highly recommended. I am a scientist but not a biologist. I found the first couple of chapters rather difficult to comprehend since I had absolutely no background... Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2003 by "ildikovass-talmage"
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant reading experience
I have always liked biology and I have always been a believer in a the mind/body theory, my psychology teacher recommended this book and I see why it gives you wit detail the... Read more
Published on July 30 2003 by "oscarm_21"
3.0 out of 5 stars Molecules of ego
Now don't get me wrong, this is a good book. Pert provides a (Western) scientific perspective on the mind/body question, and provides a lot of food for thought. Read more
Published on May 23 2003 by Stuart R. Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars "Molecules of emotion" delivers the TRUTH about health
Candace Pert is a brave, intuitive scientist who is not afraid to move out of the reductionist and confined thinking of old science and move towards the well lit truth of our... Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2003 by Skye
4.0 out of 5 stars Neuropeptides and the Evolving Bodymind
A curious mix of the personal and academic travails of an acclaimed neuroscientist-the woman who codiscovered the endorphin receptor-and her semi-ostracization into a new age world... Read more
Published on Dec 8 2002 by Dorion Sagan
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Awesome book. I will read it again.
Published on Dec 6 2002
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