Anne Harrington, Ph.D., is professor of history of science at Harvard University, and currently a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. She specializes in the history of psychiatry, neuroscience, and the other mind sciences. She is the author of Reenchanted Science (Princeton University Press, 1996) and editor of The Placebo Effect (Harvard University Press, 1997). She is writing Stories Under the Skin, a history of American mind-body medicine to be published by W.W. Norton.
The Inner Lives of Disordered Brains
One popular new novel is narrated by a boy with autism, another by a nun with epilepsy, a third by a man with Tourette syndrome. These are stories very different from the classic neurological case history, but, thanks to the pioneering efforts of Oliver Sacks and others, such stories are capturing the attention of scientists and the public in nonfiction accounts as well as novels, movies, and television dramas. Historian of science Harrington asks what we are learning from these voices out of worlds so unlike our own.
The Whiteness of LiesSwallowing the Placebo Effect
The body’s capacity to respond to “mere” symbols of medical treatment as if they were “real”—what we call the placebo effect—has become a hot topic.