The fact that established learning can be explicitly overturned is important in itself, for it is easy to forget that most work goes on within given frameworks, on the basis of assumptions rather than with an eye to the need always to question precisely those assumptions that are taken for granted. This particular discovery emphasizes at last the need to understand connections between the nervous and immune systems, and can only push forward the development of the still merely burgeoning field of neuroimmunology. Precisely because of the highly specialized nature of research and clinical care, brain facts tend to be understood apart from body facts, in a Cartesian fashion, as if one were really apart from the other. This piece of news reminds us that we can only understand one as an aspect of the other; and that we need to take seriously, in scientific terms, phenomena such as the placebo and nocebo effects, and the role of the psyche in the evolution of mental and physical disease generally.

And in turn, this goes to show that what we each take to be scientific news—that is, news about our understanding of the world and ourselves—is a function of what we expect it to look like.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s