Tag Archives: placebo

Jo Marchant on “the beer goggles of medicine”

9 May
Jo Marchant

Dr. Jo Marchant. Photo ©Calyx Picture Agency

I can remember the exact moment I first became fascinated by the idea of the mind being able to cause physical changes in the body. I was eleven, and I’d just watched Michael Ironside use his brain to force a man’s head to explode in the movie Scanners. The following day I went in to school and squinted really hard at the teacher. He asked me if I needed new glasses.

Real life often finds a way to be both less exciting and more interesting than Hollywood fantasy and it turns out that our brains contain a hidden and little understood power after all.

Jo Marchant has a BSc in genetics, a PhD in microbiology, and a black belt in jiu jitsu. I have a Scottish ‘O’ Level in Biology. Fortunately the science ninja also possesses a storyteller’s knack for unfolding a narrative in way that makes it easy to follow. She’s written a book called Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body which is essentially an examination of the placebo effect and the scientific study of this phenomena. Continue reading