Donna Jackson Nakazawa
The Angel and the Assassin:
The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine
in conversation with BETH STEVENS
moderated by CAREY GOLDBERG
This event includes a book signing
January 30, 2020
Harvard Science Center
Hall C, 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Cabot Science Library are thrilled to welcome award-winning journalist DONNA JACKSON NAKAZAWA for a discussion of her latest book, The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine. She will be joined in conversation by groundbreaking neurologist and Harvard Medical School professor BETH STEVENS. Their conversation will be moderated by CAREY GOLDBERG, host of WBUR's CommonHealth section. This event is co-sponsored by WBUR.
About The Angel and the Assassin
Until recently, microglia were thought to be merely the brain’s housekeepers, helpfully removing damaged cells. But a recent groundbreaking discovery revealed them to be capable of terrifying Jekyll and Hyde behavior. When triggered—and anything that stirs up the immune system in the body can activate microglia—they can morph into destroyers, impacting a wide range of issues from memory problems and anxiety to depression and Alzheimer’s. Under the right circumstances, however, microglia can be coaxed back into being angelic healers, able to repair the brain in ways that help alleviate symptoms and hold the promise to one day prevent disease.
A fascinating behind-the-scenes account of this cutting-edge science, The Angel and the Assassin also explores the medical implications of these game-changing discoveries. Award-winning journalist Donna Jackson Nakazawa began her investigation with a personal interest—when diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder years ago, she was convinced there was something physical going on in her brain as well as her body, though no doctor she consulted could explain how the two could be interacting in this way. With the compassion born of her own experience, she follows practitioners and patients on the front lines of treatments that help to “reboot” microglia—from neurofeedback and intermittent fasting to transcranial magnetic stimulation and gamma light flicker therapy. She witnesses patients finding significant relief from pressing symptoms—and at least one stunning recovery—offering new hope to the tens of millions who suffer from mental, cognitive, and physical health issues.
Proving once and for all the biological basis for the mind-body connection, the discovery of the true role of microglia stands to rewrite psychiatric and medical texts as we know them. Hailed as “riveting,” “stunning,” and “visionary,” The Angel and the Assassin offers us a radically reconceived picture of human health and promises to change everything we thought we knew about how to heal ourselves.
Praise for The Angel and the Assassin
“A fascinating deep dive into the unsung heroes (and villains) inside our skulls . . . Donna Jackson Nakazawa has a journalist’s eye for story, a scholar’s understanding of the research, and a patient’s appreciation for how high the stakes truly are.” —Susannah Cahalan, New York Times bestselling author of Brain on Fire
“An inspiring account that will provide a game-changing view of health for generations of researchers, clinicians, and citizens for years to come. Bravo!” —Dan Siegel, M.D., clinical professor, UCLA School of Medicine, and executive director of the Mindsight Institute
“Colorful, page-turning, and accessible . . . I have great hopes for the practical application of what Jackson Nakazawa reveals.” —Amy Myers, M.D., New York Times bestselling author of The Autoimmune Solution
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The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here.
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