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The Psychobiology of Cancer by Augustin de la Pena

Reviews of Dr. de la Peña’s The Psychobiology of Cancer: Automatization and Boredom in Health and Disease, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1983

  Drawing on a multiplicity of disciplines, especially neuroscience and information theory, this provocative work presents a well-developed, conceptually challenging, and intellectually rich argument. Information underload (“boredom”) in a system or part of system causes changes in the system’s interactive cohesiveness, with resulting novel activity, which can lead to the system-alien activity of cancer. Beyond suggesting a paradigm for carcinogenesis, de la Peña develops the boredom metaphor into a powerful integrative concept pertaining to individual health in general. A major contribution.  
Oliver A. Gillespie, Library Journal, 1983

  The author describes an original theory of carcinogenesis, applies it to other physical and psychopathological disorders, and provides detailed implications for the psychophysiology of sleep.  ….the book is a mine of information, providing scholarly reviews on the psychological and neuropsychological aspects of cancer and on psychotherapeutic interventions.   ....the author offers a timely testable hypothesis for a field in search of a theory. The book deserves a wide readership.  
John Gruzelier, PhD, psychophysiologist; Reader in Psychology, Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, London. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1987

  I think it is by far the most interesting thing I have ever heard of in the area.….I think that the hypothesis is so interesting...and would serve a lot of purposes to appear in a magazine such as Psychology Today.  
Robert Ornstein, PhD, psychologist, author of The Psychology of Consciousness, The Nature of Human Consciousness, The Healing Brain, The Roots of the Self, The Right Mind, and several other books; President of the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge; Los Altos, California

  I think this is one of the most extraordinary theories that I have ever come across, and of course it very much verifies some of my own feelings I have expressed in various places.  
Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider (1956) and nearly a hundred other books on consciousness, boredom, violence, creativity, and the human condition

  I found your approach immensely stimulating and original.  
Arthur Koestler, (1905-1983), writer and journalist, author of Darkness at Noon, The Act of Creation, Janus, and several works on general systems theory

de la Peña, a psychology professor at the University of Texas Medical School and psychophysiology chief at the Veterans Administration Hospital in San Antonio, might well have titled his book The Psychobiology of Boredom. His central thesis: Information underload, not overload, is a key to disease.  
Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy and other works on consciousness; Brain/Mind Bulletin, 1986

  Paradigm shakers often display a tendency towards iconoclastic excesses that cause open-minded readers to lose interest…It is therefore not only a refreshing but also an intellectually exciting experience to consider de la Peña’s carefully reasoned and daring approach to understanding the psychobiology of cancer. The great strength of the book lies in its insistence that we abandon a mechanistic paradigm in favor of a new monism that encompasses interdisciplinary interconnectedness. Support for de la Peña’a elegant arguments is drawn from a wide variety of sources.  …Psychologists and others working in oncology will be entertained and stimulated by the broad sweep of the hypotheses.  
Michael Jospe, PhD, Contemporary Psychology, 1984

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