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As a young doctor in India, Paul Brand had made the groundbreaking medical discovery that leprosy does its damage merely by destroying nerve endings. People who lose pain sensation can inadvertently damage themselves by simple actions as gripping a splintered rake or wearing tight shoes. Pressure sores form, infection sets in and no pain signals alert them to tend to the wounded area.

Paul Brand knew what he was talking bout. “Most people view pain as an enemy. Yet, as my leprosy patients prove, pain forces us to pay attention to threats against our bodies. Without it, heart attacks, strokes, ruptured appendixes, and stomach ulcers would all occur without any warning. Who would ever visit a doctor apart from pain’s warnings? Virtually every reponse of our bodies that we...

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