Health and Health Problems

PhySci(SC) 136 - Spring 2007

Website -

Instructor: Dr. Laurence E. Heglar
Meeting times:T & Th 16:30-17:45
Location: Rm. 210
Office hours: Available before and after class
Mobil telephone: 676.406.071

Text: Ornstein, R., Sobel, D.(eds.) (1987). The Healing Brain (Available as a photocopy)
A photocopy of readings will be sold with the text.
Purchase of the text & readings is required

Course description

In this course we will examine our concepts of health and disease. We will examine problems confronting contemporary medicine, and its limitations. These problems indicate the need for a reconceptualization of health, disease, and the factors that determine our well-being.
Our text takes the brain as its main theme, and we will be examining new evidence about how the brain acts as an interface between our internal and external environments. We will consider how beliefs, attitudes, stess, and social relationships affect our health, and we will discuss ways in which we can take control over our own well-being.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course students will be able to:


Your grade for the course will be based on quizzes (80%) and a report to be assigned by the instructor (20%).

Quizes: There will be 6 quizzes, each worth 20 points. The quizzes will have a mixed format, including multiple choice, fill-in, matching and short answer. For each quiz, the grading will be as follows:

17-20 points = A
14-16 points = B
10-13 points = C
  6- 9 points = D
  0- 5 points = NC (No Credit)

Each quiz will cover 2 or 3 book chapters, lecture material, internet resources, and any extra readings assigned. Students should assume that quizzes will cover only the material assigned since the previous quiz. Quizzes will be held once every two weeks on the day scheduled on your syllabus (subject to change), after the regular lecture. Students should not expect the instructor to cover all of the reading material for each quiz. Keeping up with the reading is the responsibility of the student.
Missing Quizes: There will be no make-up quizzes in this course. If you have to miss class on a scheduled quiz day, you should notify me (my phone number is above) before class time and state your reason for not coming. If this reason is acceptable (medical excuses are just about the only acceptable excuse), the next scheduled quiz will count double for determining your final grade. If not, no credit will be given for the quiz. This option may only be used once during the course.

Reports: During the course the instructor will assign students topics to be presented during class time for the benefit of the class, to be accompanied by a 5-10 page paper. You will be generally given one and a half to two weeks to prepare these reports. More information will be provided by the instructor.


Schiller requires that all students attend class regularly. Since I expect this class to be small, attendance is especially important. I will take attendance every class period.



Weeks 1 & 2

Jan. 16 Introduction & Overview of Course Reading Ch. 1: In Sickness & in Health
Jan. 18 A Brief History of Modern Medicine Reading: What is the Healing Brain?
Reading: Capra, The Biomedical Model
Jan. 23 A Brief History of Modern Medicine Reading: Capra - The Biomedical Model
Jan. 25 Brains, Beliefs, & Happenings Reading: Ch. 2: Bodyguards

Weeks 3 & 4

Jan. 30 Brains, Beliefs, & Happenings Reading, Ch. 2: Bodyguards
Feb. 1 The Brain and Adaptation
Priorities & Selective Attention
Reading, Ch. 3: The Self-Ish Brain
Reading: Scotomas
Feb. 6 Hypnotism Workshop
Feb. 8 Quiz 1
Obecalp - The Miracle Pill
Reading: Ch. 4 - The Powerful Placebo

Weeks 5 & 6

Feb. 13 Mind or Body? Reading: The Placebo Effect - Scientific American
Feb. 15 Beliefs & Endorphins Reading, Ch. 5: The Pharmacy Within
Feb. 20 Curing Through Concentration Reading, Ch. 6: Great Expectations
Feb. 22 Taking Control Over One's Life
Wellness Tape
Reading: Self-Healing: A Personal History by René Dubos

Weeks 7 & 8

Feb. 27 Quiz 2
What We Tell Ourselves
Reading: Ch. 7 - Small Worlds, Small Brains
March 1 Affirmations Workshop Reading: The Adventure of Growth
Notes on Writing Affirmations
March 6 Social Connectedness Reading, Ch. 8: People Need People
March 8 Social Connectedness Reading, Ch. 8: People Need People

Midterm Break - March 9-18
Weeks 9 & 10

March 20 Social Connectedness Reading, Ch. 9: From the Individual to the Social Body
March 22 Quiz 3
Self vs. Not-Self
Reading, Ch. 10: Man-Made Immunity
March 27 The Immune System Reading: Emotions, Stress, and Immunity
March 29 The Immune System Reading: Emotions, Stress, and Immunity

Easter Recess April 2-8
Weeks 11 & 12

April 10Under Pressure Reading, Ch. 11: Pressure: Social & Blood
April 12 Quiz 4
On Self-Centeredness, Hostility, and Sudden Death
Reading, Ch. 12: A Heart Apart
April 17 Society & Health Reading, Ch. 13: Friends Can Be Good Medicine
April 19 State of Being Reading, Ch. 14: Feeling Bored, Feeling Blitzed

Weeks 13 & 14

April 24 Organismic Coherence
Reading, Ch. 15: Of Hardiness, Coherence & Stability
April 26 Organismic Coherence
The Concept of Resilience
May 1 Reading, Ch. 15: Of Hardiness, Coherence & Stability Handout
April 27 Organismic Coherence
The Concept of Resilience

Week 15

May 1 National Holiday
May 3 Catch up and Review

May 7 - 11 Quizes 5 & 6