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Candace B. Pert

Candace: That’s a very interesting question. I was just thinking about that the other day. The Pollyanna answer is, hey, it’s wonderful for science because otherwise there would just be all this crap creeping in its way. It’s critical, things have to be tested out, and blah blah blah. But, I think, it’s just like human nature to do this. I mean, I used to be responsible for it too. People only believe their own things. So if they haven’t seen something they tend to not believe it I guess. Then there’s like some jealousy of new ideas. But it is part of the scientific culture that we don’t dare accept a new idea. It’s wrong. That would be a major set back. You gradually let ideas in one by one, after they’ve been really proven. But, of course, there’s Thomas Khun’s ideas about paradigm shifts and all that. We know that it doesn’t really work that way, and it tends to be like more revolutionary. So I don’t know. But like the thing that I’m really interested in right now is neurogenesis. You know about this?

David:   The birth of new brain cells.

Candace: Yeah, and the idea is twofold, one more amazing than the other. The idea is that we are making new neurons everyday in our brains, and the other is that stem cells come normally out of bone marrow, move through the blood, and actually wind up in the brain as neurons.

David:   Which goes against everything that I learned in school! My psychobiology professors taught me that we were all stuck with this limited number of neurons, and they’re slowly dying as you age, with no ability to regenerate. So you just have less and less as you go, and your cognitive functioning is gradually slipping away.

Candace: Exactly. I mean, the fights that the scientists have had to go through to get this accepted. Finally, what’s happened is, it’s an interesting Mexican standoff. There’s lots of struggle, and people now accept that this true. But the people making these observations had to jump through a hundred hoops of carefully controlled experiments to refute every possibility of it being an artifact. Now it’s accepted as a fact, but for a long time it wasn’t. Two long-term colleagues, who are really smart, and they’re great scientists, sat there and they were poo-pooing the actual biological importance of it. They were saying, all right so there are neurons, yes, it’s been proven–there’s evidence from humans that many of these new cells are maturing every day–but we have no evidence that it’s important, and the whole thing just may have nothing to do with anything. And that’s the position they’re holding right now.

David:   I find that astonishing. They don’t think that the discovery of new brain growth is important?

Candace: Well, they’re just taking a very conservative scientific view, that you’re not allowed to imagine. I’m getting ready to give a lecture in New York on Sunday, and it’s the cornerstone of my lecture. I’m going to talk about the implications for our own mind, body, health, and how we can utilize this discovery. I mean, it’s no longer just a truism to think positively, choose positive thoughts, and to make an effort to not put negativity into words. Every time you repeat something you’re stabilizing this neuronal network that’s forming. There’s always a nascent network that’s forming, and there’s a constant living and dying of neurons. And what lives and what dies depends on how often it’s used. So the more negative things you think or say about yourself, you’re just reinforcing those circuits. So to me this is huge. I still can’t get over it. (laughter)

David:   You mention having “psychic hunches” in your book. What is your perspective regarding research on psychic phenomena like telepathy or precognition? 

Candace: From what I know about parapsychology I certainly think there’s interesting, valid research going on. Lots of mainstream scientists would dismiss it, but–from a research perspective–I don’t. It’s

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