The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine

The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine Book Summary

A thrilling story of scientific detective work and medical potential that illuminates the newly understood role of microglia--an elusive type of brain cell that is vitally relevant to our everyday lives.

"The rarest of books: a combination of page-turning discovery and remarkably readable science journalism."--Mark Hyman, MD, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?

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.

Title:The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine



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    The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine Reviews

  • Aisling

    A truly terrible title for a terrific book. The "angel and the assassin" bit sounds like a horrible bad romance. The rest of the title is great and in fact exactly covers the topic of the book--a tiny...

  • Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    Donna Jackson Nakazawa is a favorite nonfiction author of mine. Her book, The Autoimmune Epidemic: Bodies Gone Haywire in a World Out of Balance--and the Cutting-Edge Science that Promises Hope was on...

  • Joy Clark

    Disclaimer: I am HUGELY skeptical of science journalism (as everyone should be). Journalists often sensationalize scientific findings in ways that are (sometimes extremely) misleading. So, yes, my cri...

  • Ashlee Bree

    My first thoughts: Illuminating. Startling. Objectively informative. Emotionally and psychologically resonant. Broad conceptually yet personal in context. Explanatory on the whole without crossing the...

  • Cynthia

    This excellent piece of medical journalism explores new research on the brain and the immune system. The writing is fresh and interesting, and the author is a born storyteller. She takes you into the ...

  • MJ

    I had been somewhat under the impression, previous to reading this, that the blood-brain barrier for the most part prevented the bodys immune system from affecting the brain. Turns out all of neurosci...

  • Lisa

    I'm not one to use "scientific" and "exciting" in one sentence, but this book has brought me to just that. DJN takes some pretty heavy-duty and cutting-edge science and makes it accessible to readers ...

  • BOOKLOVER10

    If you have never heard of microglia (they function as the white blood cells in your brain), you will learn a great deal from Donna Jackson Nakazawa's thought-provoking work of non-fiction, "The Angel...

  • Darlene

    Insightful and timely book on the brainThis book was enthralling. As a neurological patient myself, I have been wanting to knowing there is anything tangible that can be done to improve my situation. ...

  • Evonne

    This could be a life-changing book for me and for people I know.A tiny brain cell that develops from white blood cells and is part of the immune system can either support brain health or destroy it. I...