Item description for Best of the Brain from Scientific American: Mind, Matter, and Tomorrow's Brain by Floyd E. Bloom, Jonathan Lemco, Barbara Corconran, Bruce Littlefield, Ernst Fehr & Christopher Chapman...
We hear about a woman with an artificial arm controlled by her mind, read stories about the creative potential of “right-brain” and “left-brain” people, and watch science fiction films featuring characters with implanted mind chips. Yet few of us understand the science behind these and other visionary advances being made today in brain research. Leading neuroscientists and scholars have charted the stream of new findings in Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, and their articles from the past eight years, compiled here in a comprehensive volume, offer diverse and provocative perspectives on various cutting-edge brain science projects.
Scientific American, the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States, has long been the standard bearer of science journalism, and the brain science articles published in its pages offer unparalleled insights into the world of neuroscience. The expert articles assembled here, divided into three sections, reveal the latest developments of brain research in a compelling and wholly readable fashion and explore the range of fields and topics now included under the umbrella of neuroscience.
Consciousness and creativity are the focus of the “Mind” section, which features such compelling essays as science writer Carl Zimmer's examination of how the brain creates a sense of self. Steven E. Hyman, Harvard Provost and former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, proposes new ways of diagnosing psychiatric disorders in “Matter,” a section that also features articles on psychological disorders, addictions, and other topics related to the interaction between body and brain. And “Tomorrow's Brain” reveals the intriguing future potential of man-machine interactions, as well as pioneering new methods of brain treatment. Eminent neuroscientist Floyd E. Bloom also contributes an engaging introduction that situates these pieces on the front lines of brain research.
In today's technologically driven world, our lives are changing faster than ever, and neuroscience is becoming an integral part of that transformation. Best of the Brain from Scientific American gathers the very best writings on this sea change, providing an invaluable guide to the exhilarating possibilities of neuroscience.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 7" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.5 lbs.
Release Date Jul 20, 2007
Publisher Dana Press
ISBN 1932594221 ISBN13 9781932594225
Availability 0 units.
More About Floyd E. Bloom, Jonathan Lemco, Barbara Corconran, Bruce Littlefield, Ernst Fehr & Christopher Chapman
Floyd E. Bloom, MD, is chairman emeritus of the Department of Neuropharmacology at the Scripps Research Institute, past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and former editor-in-chief of "Science," He is also the author of twenty-five books.
Floyd E. Bloom currently resides in La Jolla, in the state of California. Floyd E. Bloom has an academic affiliation as follows - Scripps Clinical Research Institute Scripps Clinic and Research Founda.
Reviews - What do customers think about Best of the Brain from Scientific American: Mind, Matter, and Tomorrow's Brain?
An outstanding survey of the latest brain research findings Oct 19, 2007
Both high school and college health libraries and general-interest public lending libraries will relish The Best of the Brain from Scientific American: Mind, Matter, and Tomorrow's Brain. It provides over twenty of the most revealing articles written by lading neuroscientists and science writers covering three key areas in brain research: behavior and cognition, diseases and interactions between body and brain, and man-machine possibilities and treatments. The result is an outstanding survey of the latest brain research findings, suitable for consumers and healthcare students alike.
Diane C. Donovan California Bookwatch
You don't have to be "a brain" to understand the brain!! Sep 28, 2007
"The  articles in this collection reflect the promise, excitement, and intrigue in many areas [of brain research] since the official end of [the 1990s or] the `Decade of the Brain.'"
The above statement is found in the introduction of this fascinating book edited by Floyd Bloom, M.D. (who is apparently a "top neuroscientist"). This book contains the best neuroscience articles (as selected by Bloom) from the publications "Scientific American" and "Scientific American Mind."
All articles are brief with the shortest ones being 7 pages while the longest one is 15 pages. As well, all articles were originally published between the years 2002 and 2006 (except one that was first published in 1999).
To give the potential reader a "feel" for this book, I will give the exact brief summary found at the beginning of each article:
Part 1 entitled: Mind
(1) Moments of brilliance arise from complex cognitive processes. Piece by piece, researchers are uncovering the secrets of creative thinking. (2) Activating the brain's circuitry with pulsed magnetic fields may help ease depression, enhance cognition, even fight fatigue. (3) Neuroscientists are finding that their biological descriptions of the brain may fit together best when integrated by psychological theories that Freud sketched a century ago. (4) Biologists are beginning to tease out how the brain gives rise to a constant sense of being oneself. (5) We have long wondered how the conscious mind comes to be. Greater understanding of brain function ought to lead to an eventual solution. (6) A forecast of the major problems [in neuroscience] scientists need to solve.
Part 2: Matter
(1) In their search for the mind, scientists are focusing on visual perception--how we interpret what we see. (2) Long thought to be the brain's coordinator of body movement, the cerebellum is now known to be active during a wide variety of cognitive and perceptual activities. (3) How does the human brain process language? New studies of deaf signers hint at the answer. (4) A single mutation [a sudden variation in some inheritable characteristic in a germ cell of an individual, as distinguished from a variation resulting from generations of gradual change] casts the death sentence of Huntington's disease [that is an inherited disease characterized by chronic, progressive mental deterioration and erratic, involuntary muscle movements]. Researchers are pinning down how that mutation ruins neurons--knowledge that may suggest therapies. (5) How do you fix a broken brain? The answer may literally lie within our heads. The same approaches might also boost the power of an already healthy brain. (6) Psychiatric illnesses are often hard to recognize, but genetic testing and neuroimaging could someday be used to improve detection. (7) Drug abuse produces long-term changes in the reward circuitry of the brain. Knowledge of the cellular and molecular details of these adaptations could lead to new treatments for the compulsive behaviors that underlie addiction. (8) A fuller understanding of signaling in the brains of people with [schizophrenia, a general label for a number of psychotic disorders with various cognitive, emotional, and behavioral manifestations] offers new hope for improved therapy. (9) [Neuroscientist] Helen Mayberg may have found the switch that lifts depression [generally, a mood state characterized by a sense of inadequacy, a feeling of despondency, a decrease in activity or reactivity, pessimism, sadness, and related symptoms]--and shined a light on the real link between thought and emotion.
Part 3: Tomorrow's Brain
(1) Medication has reduced depression for decades, but newer forms of psychotherapy are proving their worth. (2) The accelerating pace of technological progress means that our intelligent creations will soon eclipse us--and that their creations will eventually eclipse them. (3) People with nerve or limb injuries may one day be able to command wheelchairs, prosthetics, and even paralyzed arms and legs by "thinking them through" the motions. (4) Thought-deciphering systems are enabling paralyzed people to communicate--and someday may let them control wheelchairs, prosthetics, and even their own muscles. (5) Compact efficient electronics based on the brain's neural system could yield implantable silicon retinas to restore vision, as well as robotic eyes and other smart sensors. (6) New drugs to improve memory and cognitive performance in impaired individuals are under intensive study. Their possible use in healthy people already triggers debate.
It is not necessary to read this book in chronological order since each article is self-contained. What I did was to read an article from each section. That is, I read article one of each section first, then article two of each section, and so on.
I suppose a major query that arises about such a book as this is if the general reader can understand it. The answer is a definite YES (hence the title of this review). I found that each article was well written and that each article defines any difficult terms. In fact, besides the brief summaries reproduced above, many articles have an "overview" that briefly highlights important ideas. Pictures and illustrations (the majority of which are in color) as well as tables and graphs are used in each article to help aid the reader's understanding.
Finally, I had two minor problems with this book:
First, at the end of each article is a brief biography of the person or persons that wrote it. As well, the original article's publication year is stated. I think it would have been more effective to have had this information at the beginning of each article.
Second, this book just ends with its last article. I think it would have been more effective if there was some sort of conclusion.
In conclusion, for those who want a "crash course" on what we know about brain function and what the future may hold, this is definitely the book to read!!!
(copyright 2007; introduction; 3 parts or 21 articles; main narrative 245 pages; index; other books and periodicals; credits)