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From The CriticsReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: As we become more aware and sophisticated in our understanding of the mind-body relationship, questions arise about the link between psychological factors and disease. This book is the first of its kind to explore these relationships.
Purpose: It aims to provide empirical evidence of the connection between psychological and physiological functioning in terms of the development and maintenance of certain diseases within the neurological and immunological realm.
Audience: The book is intended for a variety of clinicians and researchers involved with psychological disorders and the associated medical diseases discussed in this book. Practically anyone with an interest in the mind-body link and a more holistic approach to prevention and treatment will appreciate it. The editor and authors are well respected in their fields.
Features: Readers will need to have a moderate level of knowledge of medical terminology and biology as the book immediately jumps into discussions of biomarkers, cell functions, etc. The first few chapters are largely geared towards the different types of physiological functions that are affected by psychological stress and sleep disturbance. Stress response systems, inflammation, and free radicals are a focus. Each chapter is well organized and marches towards a coherent and rational summary of the literature. The second section details the role of inflammation and stress on various diseases. There is a strong focus on depression and inflammation, including a final chapter discussing treatments that improve depression and lower inflammation. Multiple sclerosis is the only disease that has its own chapter, although the jacket of the book implies extensive reviews of other diseases. A broader range of topics, such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, and chronic pain would have been welcome. Although the focus is somewhat narrow, the quality of the information is excellent. There are concluding paragraphs and key points at the end of each chapter. The references are copious and cutting edge.
Assessment: This book breaks new ground in terms of concisely reviewing the literature on psychoneuroimmunology. There are intriguing ideas and clear promise in the future of this line of inquiry. Individuals involved with clinical and research work in the narrow field of depression and inflammatory disease would be remiss to bypass this fine book.