Name: Tim Beames
Book title: The Beautiful Cure – Harnessing your body’s natural defences
Author: Daniel M. Davis
What are you drinking? A Monmouth coffee
The right level of caution
We’re often taught to view the immune system as the system that recognises self from non-self and hence protect us from germs in the body. However, as Davis demonstrates, reality is far more complex.
Consider: we eat food that is non-self and harmless bacteria live in our guts; conversely, with autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis and juvenile diabetes) the immune system can begin to attack us. As Davis asks:
“How does the body decide to make an immune response with the right level of caution?”
Davis introduces us to pattern-recognition receptors that are expressed on immune cells and have the ability to detect harmful germs; dendritic cells, which he calls ‘the alarm cell’ that patrol most of our tissues and detect problems, subsequently switching on the right immune response; cytokines, the immune system’s hormones, that turn the immune response on, off, up or down; the impact of stress on the efficiency of the immune system; and how time influences the state of the immune system.
A constant dialogue
For anyone interested in pain and wellbeing it’s helpful to recognise that:
“the immune system and our nervous system are in constant dialogue, each affecting the other through the body’s flux of cytokines and hormones. Many hormones affect our immune system, including sex hormones oestrogen and testosterone, but it is stress hormones that have the greatest impact…cortisol levels change (with stress), and in so doing dampen our immune system. Cortisol does this by reducing the efficiency with which immune cells engulf germs, produce cytokines or kill diseased cells.”
Davis does a fantastic job demonstrating the complexity of the immune system by way of a historical biography. He offers insight into the research findings; introduces us to the principle researchers; and considers how drug development in light of immune system findings may influence health and disease.
For anyone who inhabits a body
For those interested in pain and basic sciences, it may bolster your understanding of the literature on pain and the immune system; and to anyone who inhabits a body (little tester for the anti-dualists!!), is in awe of what it can do and with any interest in health and well-being: give this a read!
Tim lives in London where he works as a physiotherapist for Pain and Performance. He is also the principal instructor for NOI UK. Having completed his Masters in Pain: Science & Society at King’s College London he has a special interest in complex and persistent pain states and particularly altered bodily perception in pain.
He teaches courses throughout the UK, Europe and America. These include Explain Pain, Mobilisation of the Neuroimmune System and Graded Motor Imagery.
Tim has a massive teaching schedule over the next twelve months from Lyon, London and Lillestrom to Thessaloniki, Ljubljana, Milan and Moscow! With his reputation preceding him, his courses always sell out fast. Check out our courses page on noigroup.com to enquire about any of Tim’s upcoming courses or contact Joanna Taylor at NOI UK via email – email@example.com
Nice one Tim,
Can’t wait til it arrives. I love these books – books that tell the story in simple language. I remember thinking I needed to upgrade my immunology knowledge a few years back so I invested in Parham’s The Immune System which was the medical textbook at the time. I got to page 3!. Thankfully there was Douglas Fields The Other Brain to fall back on. Yep best to read the story, the immune narrative first, then delve back into the textbooks where needed.