Why do we feel the way we feel?
Until recently, Emotion was virtually impossible to define.
kinds of questions that needed to be answered include: how emotion is
how memory and emotion interact, whether emotion is concrete (real) or
(a construct), if concrete, how emotion acts in the body, and how
emotion is stored. How do our thoughts and emotions affect our
Are our bodies and minds distinct from each other or do they function
as parts of an interconnected system?
Candace Pert, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist whose extraordinary
provides startling and decisive answers to these and other challenging
that scientists and philosophers have pondered for centuries. Her
book is Molecules
of Emotion, the science behind mind and body medicine,
by Simon and Schuster.
For Dr. Pert, the mind is not just in the brain -- it
also in the body. The vehicle that the mind and body use to communicate
each other is the chemistry of emotion. The chemicals in question are
short chains of amino acids called peptides and receptors, that she
to be the "biochemical correlate of emotion." The peptides
can be found in your brain, but also in your stomach, your muscles,
and all your major organs, sending messages back and forth. After
of research, Dr. Pert is finally able to make clear how emotion creates
bridge between mind and body.
Her pioneering research on how the chemicals inside our
form a dynamic information network, linking mind and body, is not only
it is revolutionary. By establishing the biomolecular basis for our
and explaining these new scientific developments in a clear and
way, Dr. Pert empowers us to understand ourselves, our feelings, and
connection between our minds and our bodies -- or bodyminds -- in ways
could never have imagined before. From explaining how there is a
basis to popular wisdom about phenomena such as 'gut feelings,' to
recent breakthroughs in cancer and AIDS research, Dr. Pert provides us
an intellectual adventure of the highest order.
Molecules of Emotion is a landmark work, full of
and wisdom and possessing that rare power to change the way we see the
and ourselves. Dr. Pert's striking conclusion that it is our emotions
their biological components that establish the crucial link between
and body does not, however, serve to repudiate modern medicine's gains;
her findings complement existing techniques by offering a new
understanding of the power of our minds and our feelings to affect our
As a research professor at Georgetown Medical Center
Dr. Pert is one of the scientists on Bill Moyers' PBS series 'Healing
the Mind.' The journey Dr. Pert takes us on in Molecules of Emotionis
one of personal as well as scientific discovery. Woven into her lucid
of the science underlying her work is the remarkable story of how,
with personal and professional obstacles, she has grown as a woman and
mother and how her personal and spiritual development has made possible
remarkable scientific career.
She offers a rare glimpse of the ruthless competition for
and money that sometimes obscures the pursuit of truth. Because of her
over her exclusion from the prestigious Lasker Award, her reputation
scientists was more that of feminist troublemaker than pathfinder.
the picture she draws here of the science establishment would seem to
a world of aggressive, even ruthless, alpha males fighting for the top
She also traces her own evolution from competitive bench scientist to
of personal healing modalities. The death of her father, the end of her
her resignation from the NIH, her embracing of the Christian faith, and
discovery of the healing power of dreams—all were, she says,
Trained as a pharmacologist, Dr. Pert discovered the opiate
in 1972, the structure on the surface of a cell that allows it to admit
substances, such as nutrients and hormones. Malfunctions in the
of cell receptors can cause disease. Dr. Pert also explains her theory
and their receptors are the biochemicals of emotions, carrying
in a vast network linking the material world of molecules with the
world of the psyche.
Dr. Pert explains that perception and awareness play a vital
in health and longevity. She is able to explain how her research
mind and body gap that is sadly prevalent in modern traditional
Her views on mind-body cellular communication mesh well with the
of energy held by many alternative therapies, and she is now, not
a popular lecturer on the wellness circuit. Her book describes an
program for a healthy lifestyle, and she has appended an extensive list
alternative medicine resources. For all of those who have sought
complementary medicine, this book will confirm what you have long
that alternative approaches to health do work. Dr. Pert explains why.
The scientific basis of the components of the
emotion has basically two parts: The receptors that receive the smaller
kind of into themselves on the surfaces of self. The other half isthe
ligand, the small molecule that binds to the receptors. These
molecules can be drugs, hormones, or other chemicals -- chemicals made
within, many of which are peptides in their structure. These are
over, not just the brain but different parts of the body, including the
and the vessels around the heart.
Does the mind come first, or chemistry? It is
of the difference between Eastern and Western thought. In Eastern, the
precedes reality. In Western, we think consciousness is a secretion of
brain, like urine is a secretion of the kidneys. She writes that there
a very close correspondence between the highest, most concentrated
enrichment of a certain neuropeptides and where the chakras are classically
to be -- there's a striking concordance to chakra, the Eastern system
energy centers. The seven centers actually correspond in places of
neuropeptides VIP (vasoactive
intestinal peptide), which is an incredibly important
critical in regulating the neural immune switches between the brain and
immune system, as well as being involved in the pathogenesis of
She delves into the relationship between the chakras by
in the current Western biochemical correspondence. You don't have to be
scientist -- sometimes they're too skeptical about ancient wisdom
up by thousands of years in practice. I think this whole chakra spinal
neuropeptides correspondence is one of the hottest potential places for
It's very complex, thinking of it as an integrated whole --the ancient
of Eastern philosophy wedded with the best technique and scientific
as modern science.
Do we treat physical conditions from an emotional point of
or vice versa? Dr. Pert says," I honestly cannot differentiate
from the mental, vice versa. The answer is you simultaneously do both,
they're flip sides of the same thing... I think a key word is balance,
I do feel that the meditation if possible twice a day in some kind of
and not free-form form could be the cornerstone of a fitness program,
with exercise, which many studies have shown is the critical anti-aging
in all kinds of animals and human beings."
Western medicine may say "it is all in your head" means that
is bothering a patient is therefore not important or real. According to
Pert, the paradigm has got to shift. Even if it was entirely mental,
it's all in your head shows no awareness of the new research,
consciousness is a body-mind wide phenomenon.
But how does awareness actually transform matter? Dr.
believes that biophysicists will be answering that question. "I have a
and my understanding is it will involve some kind of signal -- a signal
information conveyed over time -- that occurs simultaneously in a
substrate and the physical substrate of the body."
Her work in San Francisco at St. Francis Hospital looks at
T will be able to decrease virus levels in AIDS patients when added
existing regimens of drugs which stabilize the virus, but do not take
a low enough level for people to feel uncomfortable. In the past, the
has been studied for its effects as an antidote for neuroaids, and
T has been shown to reverse the mental and neurological damage caused
A paper published in the Archives of Neurology in January
in a three-site, sponsored, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical
Patients on peptide T improved, while the placebo group deteriorated.
drug has no toxic side effects of its own, and appears to be easily
with other drugs, from the highly-effective anti-retroviral regimens.
hope is to see some beneficial antiviral effects in the patients, since
was observed in the test tube has been so dramatic. Dr. Pert and
Ruff, a colleague, visited University of Puerto Rico, where these test
experiments were repeated, showing that Peptide T (HIV Peptide T)
the major form of the virus which is in about 80% of people.
Her web site, TINM stands
The Institute for New Medicine -- a nonprofit foundation and research
at Georgetown University and School of Medicine, founded to
examine new medicine, some of which is ancient, and to understand
that haven't been looked at sufficiently. Look for her tape, the title
which is "Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind."
Dr. Pert believes emotions are the key to our physiology --
coordinating all parts into a harmonious whole. It's the total
engage different systems to act in a coordinated fashion. There's a
denial of the importance of emotions in our culture, unfortunately. But
direct effects of shifts in consciousness on physical well-being are
In Molecules of Emotion you can read about the
discovery of the various neuropeptides and what parts of the body
are in, and what roles they play in physiology, intertwined with
reminisces. Candace Pert teaches the interrelatedness of body and mind
reachable scientific terms. She's an inspiration to all of us in her
quest for truth and wholeness in our bodyminds. Her book reads like a
with the exception of a highly technical ending with a quick, but brief
on what steps you can take to help yourself.
Approaching A Theory of Emotion - An Interview With Candace Pert, Ph.D.
By Lynn Grodzki, Fellow The New Identify
and other forms of emotive psychotherapy embrace the healing tradition
Candace Beebe, an Encarta Encyclopedia Article Titled "Pert, Candace
Pert, Candace Beebe (1946- ), American
and pharmacologist best known for her discovery of opiate receptors in
brain. A receptor is a molecule with an electrically active indentation
The Institute for New
Candace Pert's Book Molecules of Emotion: The
Behind Mind-Body Medicine A RealAudio Interview with Candace Pert,PH.D.
T®:Old Drug, New Information:AIDS Trial To Begin
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Quick Survey Which of these theories do you
James-Lange Canon-Bard Candace Pert Plutchik None of these by
A long-standing debate has developed around the ultimate source of
Nexus 2000: Candace
-- featured speaker.
Neuroscientist and Research Professor whose
research in Molecules of Emotion shows how chemicals in our bodies form
dynamic information network, linking mind and body (her photo is here).
Some of the best references for the events that
the history of the neurosciences.
WebMD - Dean
Life Style Components: Stress Management with Candace Pert
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Candace Pert, PhD: neuropeptides, AIDS, and the science of mind-body
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Candace Pert on the chemistry of emotions When
receives bad news Dear Reader Think of all the words and phrases
to the heart -- heartthrob, heart-to-heart, take heart, speak from the
follow our hearts, heartsick, heartbroken, heartache,...
of Naturopathic Medicine, Vol. 3, Number 1-- HealthWorld Online - -
Peptide T: A GP-120 Blocking Protein Emily
The following is a report on a presentation by Candace Pert, Ph.D,
Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University,
NJ and Director of Research
Internet Neuroscience Resources - Description: Internet
Neuroscience Resources These sites provide comprehensive lists of