Virtual Event: Camilla Nord


The Balanced Brain:
The Science of Mental Health


February 19, 2024
1:00 PM ET


Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome CAMILLA NORD—Program Leader at the Mental Health Neuroscience Lab at the University of Cambridge—for a discussion of her new book The Balanced Brain: The Science of Mental Health


Click here to RSVP this free virtual event on Zoom. 

About The Balanced Brain

There are many routes to mental well-being. In this groundbreaking book, neuroscientist Camilla Nord offers a fascinating tour of the scientific developments that are revolutionising the way we think about mental health, showing why and how events—and treatments—can affect people in such different ways.

In The Balanced Brain, Nord explains how our brain constructs our sense of mental health—actively striving to maintain balance in response to our changing circumstances. While a mentally healthy brain deals well with life’s turbulence, poor mental health results when the brain struggles with disruption. But just what is the brain trying to balance? Nord describes the foundations of mental health in the brain—from the neurobiology of pleasure, pain and desire to the role of mood-mediating chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and opioids. She then pivots to interventions, revealing how antidepressants, placebos and even recreational drugs work; how psychotherapy changes brain chemistry; and how the brain and body interact to make us feel physically (as well as mentally) healthy. Along the way, Nord explains how the seemingly small things we use to lift our moods—a piece of chocolate, a walk, a chat with a friend—work on the same pathways in our brains as the latest treatments for mental health disorders.

Understanding the cause of poor mental health is one of the crucial questions of our time. But the answer is unique to each of us, and it requires finding what helps our brains rebalance and thrive.

With so many factors at play, there are more possibilities for recovery and resilience than we might think.

Praise for The Balanced Brain

“Simply brilliant. This is science writing at its best. If you want to understand mental health—really understand it—read this book.” —Nichola Raihani, author of The Social Instinct

“This excellent book is a breath of fresh air . . . anyone reading it will come away with a kinder, better understanding of themselves. A clear-thinking tour of the latest research from a leading mental health scientist and an accessible exploration of how our bodies and minds make us feel the way we do—or better or worse.” —Lucy Foulkes, author of What Mental Illness Really Is . . . (and what it isn’t)

“This is a wonderful, living history of how scientists have gained insights into and currently think about the dynamic health of the brain. Nord’s narrative style is intimate and engaging, making you feel almost as though you were there when breakthroughs were made. The denouement is a deeply compelling message. To navigate the fleeting joys and transient displeasures of life, there is one sustaining imperative—namely, balance.” —Karl Friston, University College London

Camilla Nord
Camilla Nord

Camilla Nord

Camilla Nord leads the Mental Health Neuroscience Lab at the University of Cambridge. Her research has been featured in the New Statesman, the Daily Mail and the British Journal of Psychiatry, and on the BBC.

Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Event Series: Harvard Science Book Talks

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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