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The Wisdom of the Body


BOTH because of the vivid interesti of its subject matter and also the simple and clear way in which it is written, this recent book of Prof. Cannon should make a ready appeal to a wide circle of the general public as well as to students of the biological sciences. It is the fourth of a series of volumes giving the conclusions of the researches he and his colleagues have been carrying out over a period of more than thirty years. The first of these, published in 1911, was concerned with the mechanical factors of digestion; but it included also chapters on the nervous control of the digestive process, and the effect of emotional states upon it. The second work (1915) was his well-known “Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear, and Rage”, which stressed the importance of adrenal secretion in connexion with the many somatic changes that occur in emotional excitement. The third, “Traumatic Shock”(1923), dealt with the general functions of the autonomic nervous system, and was mainly a war-case study. The present volume carries the same general line of study a step further, treating, as it does, of the relation of the autonomic system to the balance (or, as he terms it, home-ostasis) of physiological processes.

The Wisdom of the Body.

By Prof. Walter B. Cannon. Pp. 312. (London: Kegan Paul and Co., Ltd., 1932.) 12s. 6d. net.

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The Wisdom of the Body. Nature 133, 82 (1934).

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