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Best of the Brain from Scientific American

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Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Harper's Magazine - Gary Greenberg
"If you are going to live, whether you like it or not, in thrall to you brain, then your future belongs in some way to the doctors who claim to be the only people qualified to explain you to yourself. . . . The prominent neuroscientists who contribute to Best of the Brain are sure that a full explication of its operation is just a supersized technical challenge that will soon be met."--Harper's Magazine
Guardian - Steven Poole
“Inner space is like outer space: at least, that is the curious visual analogy implied by all the beautiful colour illustrations in this book, where the images of what’s going on inside human and other brains resemble nothing so much as Hubble photographs of distant galaxies. It’s a deeply interesting and highly readable collection of articles about frontiers in current brain science.”--Guardian  
Joseph LeDoux
“Best of the Brain is an exploration of mind and matter by some of the best in the brain business. I can’t think of a better place to get a crash course on what we know about brain function and what’s coming down the road.”—Joseph LeDoux, New York University and author of The Emotional Brain and Synaptic Self

 

 

 

Oliver Sacks
‘”The past two decades have brought amazing breakthroughs in our understanding of the human brain…. Best of the Brain is an irresistible guide to this new territory.”—Oliver Sacks, M.D., author of Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Floyd E. Bloom
“The study of the human brain and its diseases remains one of the greatest scientific and philosophical challenges ever undertaken. The knowledge we have collected has become so plentiful and significant that it tends to intimidate novices and tempt the unaware into believing that the most important findings are behind us. In fact, the past accomplishments now allow us to pose better and still more interesting questions.”Floyd E. Bloom, MD, from the Introduction

 

 

Harper's Magazine

"If you are going to live, whether you like it or not, in thrall to you brain, then your future belongs in some way to the doctors who claim to be the only people qualified to explain you to yourself. . . . The prominent neuroscientists who contribute to Best of the Brain are sure that a full explication of its operation is just a supersized technical challenge that will soon be met."--Harper's Magazine

— Gary Greenberg

Guardian

“Inner space is like outer space: at least, that is the curious visual analogy implied by all the beautiful colour illustrations in this book, where the images of what’s going on inside human and other brains resemble nothing so much as Hubble photographs of distant galaxies. It’s a deeply interesting and highly readable collection of articles about frontiers in current brain science.”--Guardian

— Steven Poole

Publishers Weekly

Well written and accessible to a general audience, these 21 articles from Scientific Americansince 1999 provide insight into our current state of knowledge about the human brain. Floyd, past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former editor of its flagship journal, Science, is ideal to make this selection. In the first section, "Mind," about high-level brain functions, Nobel laureate Eric Kandel argues that we are now poised to turn "mind" from a philosophical concept into a scientific one. The next section, "Matter," deals primarily with disorders of the brain and how, for example, researchers hope to devise effective treatments and better understand the healthy brain. The final section, "Tomorrow's Brain," envisions a time when prosthetic devises might be controlled by thought alone, when artificial retinas are commonplace and when humans and machines merge into what could only be described as a new entity—a future that may not be so far off. Miguel Nicoleli and John Chapin show how Belle, an owl monkey, working with a microwire array implanted on the surface of her brain, moves an artificial arm merely by thinking of making it move. There's much to stimulate the brain of any reader. 30 color illus. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932594225
  • Publisher: Dana Press
  • Publication date: 7/20/2007
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

 

 

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Table of Contents

          Introduction by Floyd E. Bloom, M.D.              PART 1. MIND    1.   Unleashing Creativity          Ulrich Kraft    2.   Stimulating the Brain          Mark S. George       3.   Freud Returns          Mark Solms    4.   The Neurobiology of the Shelf          Carl Zimmer    5.   How the Brain Creates the Mind          Antonio R. Damasio    6.   The New Science of Mind          Eric R. Kandel           PART 2. MATTER    7.   Vision: A Window on Consciousness          Nikos K. Logothetis    8.   Rethinking the 'Lesser Brain'          James M. Bower and Lawrence M. Parsons    9.   Sign Language in the Brain          Gregory Hickok, Ursula Bellugi, and Edward S. Klima  10.   Hunting for Answers          Juergen Andrich and Joerg T. Epplen  11.   Brain, Repair Yourself          Fred H. Gage  12.   Diagnosing Disorders          Steven E. Hyman  13.   The Addicted Brain          Eric J. Nestler and Robert C. Malenka  14.   Decoding Schizophrenia          Daniel C. Javitt and Joseph T. Coyle  15.   Turning Off Depression          David Dobbs           PART 3. TOMORROW'S BRAIN  16.   Treating Depression: Pills or Talk          Steven D. Hollon, Michael E. Thase, and John C. Markowitz  17.   The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine          Ray Kurzweil  18.   Controlling Robots with the Mind          Miguel A. L. Nicolelis and John K. Chapin  19.   Thinking Out Loud          Nicola Neumann and Niels Birbaumer  20.   Neuromorphic Microchips          Kwabena Boahen  21.   The Quest for a Smart Pill          Stephen S. Hall           Index
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