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ARC Review: We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body's Bioelectric Code, and What the Future Holds


We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body's Bioelectric Code, and What the Future Holds by Sally Adee

Sally Adee is a science and technology journalist with a long history of "how human minds and bodies intersect with the machines we create". In 2012 she wrote a feature story on bioelectricity technology that Yuval Noah Harari cites in his excellent book Homo Deus. So she's been interested in the topic of bioelectricity for quite some time.

In this new book Adee takes us through the history and science of bioelectricity and discusses what the future may hold. It's a well-done popular science book on a fascinating topic. Especially fascinating is how much our understanding of the topic has advanced in the last few decades. We may now be poised on the brink of some significant breakthroughs.

What exactly is bioelectricity? It's the flow of charged particles through our bodies. Unlike electricity outside our bodies which involve the flow of electrons, bioelectricity involves the flow of ions. Bioelectricity does things like send signals from our nerves to our brains, allow our muscles to contract, and more. 

You're probably familiar with an EEG - the line representing the heartbeat as a wave. You may have had one yourself at your doctor's office or seen one on a medical TV show. An EEG is actually a recording of the electrical pulses of the heart. "Brain waves" are also measures of the electrical impulses produced in your brain. In short, a lot of what our bodies do is accomplished through bioelectricity. 

If you've been following my book reviews for a while you know I'm a big fan of history and science. Adee does a great job with the history, showing how our understanding of bioelectricity has advanced in fits and starts. But where she really shines is in her exploration of what may come next. The capability to use electricity to control or even reverse cancer is just one area of current (no pun intended) research.

RATING: Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I read an advanced copy of the book courtesy of Netgalley and Hachette Books. Publication Day is February 28, 2023, but you can preorder now.

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Title: We Are Electric: Inside the 200-Year Hunt for Our Body's Bioelectric Code, and What the Future Holds

Author: Sally Adee

Publisher: Hachette Books

Publish Date: February 28, 2023

ISBN-13: 9780306826627

Publisher’s List Price: $30 Hardcover (as of 01/2023)