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No. 33: May-Jun 1984

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Imaging Cancer Away

"Anna had been given three months to live. The malignant tumor, growing rapidly at the back of her neck, had virtually crippled her. Her upper body was hunched over, her head was forced painfully to one side, and her right arm was contracted and paralyzed. The best thing she could do, said her doctor, was to go home and make arrangements for the future of her young son and daughter."

Instead Anna learned how to "image." She conceived the tumor to be a dragon on her back and her white blood cells as knights attacking the dragon with swords. A year later, the tumor had shrunk. Later, it disappeared complete-ly. Can "imaging" work? Obviously, this is a very controversial question.

Admittedly, little real scientific research has been done on imaging per se -- it is a bit too radical a concept. But a few scientists are beginning to chart the chemistry and information flow in the mind-body relationship. For example, the death of a spouse has long been associated with the increased mortality of the surviving spouse. Clinical studies of bereaved spouses reveal fewer circulating lymphocytes, which help the body fight disease, and significantly higher levels of cortisol, a substance that suppresses the immune system's response to disease.

Although it is very early in the game, there are verifiable correlations between state-of-mind and body chemistry. Further, other researchers have found that there are sympathetic nerve terminals in such organs as the spleen and lymph nodes, both of which play important parts in defending the body. Imaging just might send the right signals through these terminals, while depression might tend to shut the defense system down.

(Hammer, Signe; "The Mind as Healer," Science Digest, 92:47, 1984.)

Comment. Imaging is only the latest psychological device humans have tried in fighting disease and promoting health. History is full of such ploys.

From Science Frontiers #33, MAY-JUN 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987