two books reviewed : Suzanne O’Sullivan - Jo Marchant

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Teresa Binstock

Jun 12, 2016, 1:22:50 PM6/12/16

It’s All in Your Head: True Stories of Imaginary Illness. By Suzanne O’Sullivan. Chatto & Windus; 336 pages; £16.99. To be published in America by Other Press in January.

Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body. By Jo Marchant. Crown; 320 pages; $26. Canongate; £16.99.

"....Two things hold back this new field. The first is a pervasive view in medical science that it is all outlandish. A recurring confession from the researchers Ms Marchant meets is that they fear for their academic reputation if they study alternative treatments (one describes the experience as coming “out of the closet”; “Everyone looked at me sort of funny,” says another).

Connected to that, probably, is lack of funding for research. Pharmaceutical companies shun such treatments because they are not moneymakers. Only 0.2% of the $30 billion annual budget of America’s National Institutes of Health goes toward testing mind-body therapies. Ms Marchant’s book makes a convincing case why that is short-sighted."

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