All posts by Sophie Van Tiggelen

Paperback Release of The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell that Changed the Course of Medicine

When I sat down in my attic to write THE ANGEL AND THE ASSASSIN: The Tiny Brain Cell that Changed the Course of Medicine, I never imagined that it would be so needed in our world! 2020 has been chock-full of adversity, uncertainty and distress on so many levels: the worst pandemic in a hundred years, millions facing economic uncertainty, global climate change, and mounting political discord. 

The past decade has been a golden era in brain research, one in which scientists have offered extraordinary hope for today’s mental health crisis by rewriting our basic understanding of how disorders of the human brain develop, and how we might help prevent or ameliorate them. And they all come down to one tiny, elusive cell, called microglia (remember that name!), which turn out to be game-changers for mental health.

The Angel and the Assassin offers a deep dive into recent groundbreaking discoveries about the brain and how microglia link our mental and physical health. When we are facing external stressors, including viral infections or chronic emotional stressors, these cells can wreak havoc in our brain, sparking inflammation and a wide range of problems. However, under the right circumstances, microglia can be coaxed into becoming healers, able to repair the brain in ways that help alleviate symptoms ranging from memory loss and anxiety to depression.

This book offers more hope and promise for human healing than any other science I’ve ever reported on. Today, as we face a pandemic and unprecedented political unrest, we need, more than ever, to understand what helps and what harms brain health, and have new pathways for healing.

I am excited to announce that The Angel and the Assassin will be available everywhere in paperback format January 19, 2021. If you haven’t already, grab your copy here!

Click here to read the prologue: When the Body Attacks the Brain.


To learn more about the brain and the long-overlooked cells called microglia, check out these excellent press releases and podcasts about The Angel and the Assassin:

Your Healing Narrative: Write-to-Heal With Neural Re-Narrating™️

Happy 2021!

2020 was a year unlike any other. But it also brought home for many of us what matters most, including the importance of nurturing and harnessing the power of our nervous system and brain toward equanimity so that we can flourish even in the face of adversity.

Your Healing Narrative: Write-to-Heal With Neural Re-Narrating™ is my 2021 offering for individuals, parents, teachers, social workers, therapists, and health care professionals, to help ease a little bit of the anxiety, suffering, and trauma we are all experiencing.

Over my three decades as a science journalist, in the course of writing seven books and exploring the intersection of neuroscience, emotion, and the mind-body connection, I’ve sat with many individuals who’ve suffered from adversity and interviewed hundreds of leading neuroscientists. Your Healing Narrative: Write-to-Heal With Neural Re-Narrating™ is a compilation and distillation of all that I’ve learned – a synthesis of all the best strategies I know for flourishing in the face of adversity. In this program, which combines writing-to-heal techniques with science-based trauma-healing interventions and mindfulness approaches, I’ve set out to help you learn how to override your brain’s old, habitual reactions and create new, healthier responses that reset the brain and nervous system for peace and possibility.

In the past, I’ve shared how I faced a number of challenging life experiences and traumas throughout my life, both growing up, and as an adult.

I know what it’s like to feel as if you’re swimming hard against an invisible tide of challenges and stressors – whether it’s trauma from the past, stressors in your current life, chronic health conditions, or concerns over someone you dearly love. And I know how hard it is to utilize healing strategies when facing uncertainty and adversity. When the world around me, or the lives of those I love, spin into chaos, these are the moments I’ve become most caught up in rumination and self-criticism, and resisted taking care of my own well-being. 

All too often, especially if we are women or serve in the healing professions, we may be so busy caring for others that we don’t turn our attention to our own inner well-being with the self-compassion we deserve.

This year has been chock-full of adversity, uncertainty and distress on so many levels: the worst pandemic in a hundred years, millions facing economic uncertainty, global climate change, and mounting political discord. Over time, facing unpredictable, chronic stressors can deliver us into a low-grade state of fight, flight, freeze, sabotaging our immune system and our nervous system. Perhaps you’ve noticed changes in your mood, mindset, or health. Or, perhaps you’re not aware of the tension you may be holding onto as you keep on coping, and caregiving for those who need you. Either way, over time, chronic stress can begin to take a physical and emotional toll your long-term health. 

Knowledge in and of itself is not enough to change old, neural patterns. When we try to change our thought patterns and reactions on our own, we automatically overlay old, ingrained thought patterns onto newly learned approaches. 

That’s why I’ve created Your Healing Narrative: Write-to-Heal With Neural Re-Narrating™ in which I carefully guide you step-by-step through over 100 lessons, activities, and strategies. Throughout this course you’ll go on a journey, using the process of writing-to-heal to recognize old, painful thought patterns; observe how your history of adversity may be affecting your health, relationships, and well-being; and begin rewriting your inner story to create a new, more powerful, resonant, and purposeful healing narrative that will help you to flourish in your life, even in the face of adversity. 

My hope is that through this course, you’ll come away with simple but powerful tools to create a deep and lasting inner sense of resiliency. By doing this transformative work, you will not only help yourself through difficulties from the past, as well as in your present life, you’ll also begin to extend that inner sense of safety, and the resources you learn, to help those around you thrive.

In truth, I wish I had been able to take this program myself decades ago, earlier in my own healing journey, both as a parent, and as an individual with chronic health conditions. And so, I created it for all of you, to help you thrive through these unprecedented times. 

I’ve created two versions of this program: one for Healing Professionals and one for Individuals. You can learn more here.

I truly believe that Neural Re-Narrating™ holds the key to creating more powerful healing possibilities for inner peace and flourishing, even in these times of adversity! 

You can learn more about the different program offerings here! Be sure to use the code CALM2021 to get $25 off the introductory price!