Neurologist Suzanne O'Sullivan won the medically themed Wellcome Book Prize on Monday with "It's All in Your Head," an exploration of the mysteries of psychosomatic illness.
O'Sullivan beat five other finalists to take the 30,000 pound ($43,000) prize, which aims to bridge the gap between literature and science.
The author drew on her experiences working at a London neurology hospital to probe the puzzling cases of patients whose serious symptoms have no obvious physical cause. Journalist Joan Bakewell, who chaired the panel of judges, said the book offered "new insights into the relationship between the body and the mind."
Funded by charity the Wellcome Trust, the prize is open to fiction or nonfiction works published in Britain that deal with medicine, health or illness.
The other finalists included Amy Liptrot's account of addiction, "The Outrun"; Steve Silberman's study of autism, "Neurotribes"; and Cathy Rentzenbrink's memoir of a devastating accident, "The Last Act of Love."
There were two novels on the list: Alex Pheby's psychosis study "Playthings" and Sarah Moss's Victorian medical story "Signs For Lost Children."