Brainology: The Curious Science of Our Minds

(Author) (Author)
& 8 more
Usually despatches within 3-5 days.


16 revealing stories about the human brain.

Ever wondered how Scandinavians cope with 24-hour darkness, why we feel pain - or whether smartphones really make children stupid?

Have you heard about the US army's research into supercharging minds?

You need some Brainology. Written for Wellcome, the health charity, these stories follow doctors as they solve the puzzle of our emotions, nerves and behaviour.

Discover fascinating and intriguing stories from the world of science.

Ouch! The science of pain - John Walsh
Why doctors are reclaiming LSD and ecstasy - Sam Wong
Inside the mind of an interpreter - Geoff Watts
How should we deal with dark winters? - Linda Geddes
Smartphones won’t* make your kids dumb (*Probably) - Olivia Solon
You can train your mind into ‘receiving’ medicine - Jo Marchant
Charting the phenomenon of deep grief - Andrea Volpe
The mirror cure for phantom limb pain - Srinath Perur
Can you think yourself into a different person? - Will Storr
How to survive a troubled childhood - Lucy Maddox
What tail-chasing dogs reveal about humans - Shayla Love
A central nervous solution to arthritis - Gaia Vince
Could virtual reality headsets relieve pain? - Jo Marchant
What it means to be homesick in the 21st Century - John Osborne Lighting up brain tumours with Project Violet - Alex O'Brien
The US military plan to supercharge brains - Emma Young


Ouch! The science of pain.

John Walsh

One night in May, my wife sat up in bed and said, ‘I’ve got this awful pain just here.’ She prodded her abdomen and made a face. ‘It feels like something’s really wrong.’ Woozily noting that it was 2am, I asked what kind of pain it was. ‘Like something’s biting into me and won’t stop,’ she said.

‘Hold on,’ I said blearily, ‘help is at hand.’ I brought her a couple of ibuprofen with some water, which she downed, clutching my hand and waiting for the ache to subside.

An hour later, she was sitting up in bed again, in real distress. ‘It’s worse now,’ she said, ‘really nasty. Can you phone thedoctor?’ Miraculously, the family doctor answered the phone at 3am, listened to her recital of symptoms and concluded, ‘It might be your appendix. Have you had yours taken out?’ No, she hadn’t. ‘It could be appendicitis,’ he surmised, ‘but if it was dangerous you’d be in much worse pain than you’re in. Go to the hospital in the morning, but for now, take some paracetamol and try to sleep.’

Barely half an hour later, the balloon went up. She was awakened for the third time, but now with a pain so savage and uncontainable it made her howl like a tortured witch face down on a bonfire. The time for murmured assurances and spousal procrastination was over. I rang a local minicab, struggled into my clothes, bundled her into a dressing gown, and we sped to St Mary’s Paddington at just before 4am.

The flurry of action made the pain subside, if only through distraction, and we sat for hours while doctors brought forms to be filled, took her blood pressure and ran tests. A registrar poked a needle into my wife’s wrist and said, ‘Does that hurt? Does that? How about that?’ before concluding: ‘Impressive. You have a very high pain threshold.’

The pain was from pancreatitis, brought on by rogue gallstones that had escaped from her gall bladder and made their way, like fleeing convicts, to a refuge in her pancreas, causing agony. She was given a course of antibiotics and, a month later, had an operation to remove her gall bladder.

‘It’s keyhole surgery,’ said the surgeon breezily, ‘so you’ll be back to normal very soon. Some people feel well enough to take the bus home after the operation.’ His optimism was misplaced. My lovely wife, she of the admirably high pain threshold, had to stay overnight, and came home the following day filled with painkillers; when they wore off, she writhed with suffering. After three days she rang the specialist, only to be told:'

Product Details

£8.99  £8.54
Canbury Press
Publish Date
BIC Categories:

Earn By Promoting Books

Earn money by sharing your favourite books through our Affiliate programme.

Become an Affiliate
We use cookies and similar methods to recognize visitors and remember their preferences. We also use them to help detect unauthorized access or activity that violate our terms of service, as well as to analyze site traffic and performance for our own site improvement efforts. To learn more about these methods, including how to disable them view our Cookie Policy.