Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome

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Here, leading neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen offers a state-of-the-art look at what we know about the human brain and the human genome -- and shows how these two vast branches of knowledge are coming together in a boldly ambitious effort to conquer mental illness. Andreasen gives us an engaging and readable description of how it all works -- from billions of neurons, to the tiny thalamus, to the moral monitor in our prefrontal cortex. She shows the progress made in mapping the human genome, whose 30,000 to 40,000 genes are almost all active in the brain. Four major disorders are covered -- schizophrenia, manic depression, anxiety disorders, and dementia -- revealing what causes them and how they affect the mind and brain. Finally, the book shows how the powerful tools of genetics and neuroscience will be combined during the next decades to build healthier brains. By revealing how combining genome mapping with brain mapping can unlock the mysteries of mental illness, Andreasen offers a remarkably fresh perspective on these devastating diseases.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Andreasen, a prolific author, editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, and chair of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, argues that by combining our knowledge of the human genome with that of the human brain we can effectively "wage war" on mental illness. She summarizes what we know about the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of schizophrenia, dementia, and various mood and anxiety disorders. Stressing that these illnesses are multifactorial (caused by both multiple genes and environmental factors), she predicts that the powerful new tools of molecular biology can be successfully applied to mental illness. Like Rita Carter in Mapping the Mind (LJ 2/15/99), which summarizes the current state of medical technology, Andreasen describes those tools along with the neuroimaging techniques that help us to view the functioning brain. Her text is unique in that it covers the fundamentals of neurobiology and at the same time touches on key issues in medical economics, treatment, and prevention. Hypothetical case studies illustrate the progression and impact of mental illness. Written with clarity and sensitivity, this study offers a refreshing, optimistic vision of the future. Suitable for public and academic libraries. Laurie Bartolini, Illinois State Lib., Springfield Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"In Brave New Brain, a fascinating book written for the lay public, Nancy Andreasen argues persuasively that there are now some real and important discoveries and that these are already altering psychiatric practice and will do so increasingly in the years ahead...Andreasen has written a truly outstanding book. Brave New Brain informs, provokes thought, conveys the excitement of science, indicates why science matters, and considers both the achievements with respect to clinical application and the difficulties involved. Quite an achievement!" — Michael Rutter, Science

"Written with clarity and sensitivity, this study offers a refreshing, optimistic vision of the future."—Library Journal

"Nancy Andreasen is an internationally respected neuroscientist and a gifted writer. In Brave New Brain she succeeds at a daunting task, to walk the general reader through most of what is known today about the biology of mind. For anyone curious about the puzzles of disordered thought, mood, and behavior, this book is the right place to begin."—Peter D. Kramer, M.D., author of Listening to Prozac

"I loved Brave New Brain! It is clear, extremely informative and conveys the excitement of biological psychiatry that has been energized by the genome and imaging. I think Nancy Andreasen's book is the best so far on this subject. Her quotes are memorable. This is a serious book but almost makes for compulsive reading."—Judith L. Rapoport, M.D., National Institute of Mental Health

"We have entered the 'golden age of neuroscience,' and if you read this fascinating and accessible book, you will know why. From genome mapping to brain scanning, a whole new world is opening up with profound implications for both medicine and philosophy."—Frank Conroy, author of Body & Soul, Midair, and Stop-Time

"A breath of fresh air. It is sufficiently probing, original and well documented that it will be a valuable resource to professional scientists and psychiatrists. At the same time, Dr. Andreasen's gifts as a writer (she has a doctorate in English literature) result in an immensely accessible volume.... This may be the finest book of this type I have ever encountered."—Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195167283
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 623,466
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., is Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa College of Medicine. The Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Psychiatry and a member of the task force that developed both the DSM III and DSM IV, she has won numerous awards, has written ten other books and hundreds of articles. Her previous book for general readers, The Broken Brain, was the first to describe the importance of neurobiology to understanding mental illness. She lives in Iowa City and Santa Fe.

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Table of Contents

Part I Broken Brains and Troubled Minds
1. Brave New Brain: Confronting the Burden of Mental Illness
2. A Waking Nightmare: Mental Illness and Ordinary People
3. Broken Brains, Troubled Minds: Being Blinded by False Dichotomies
Part II Mind Meets Molecule
4. The Brain: The Mind's Dynamic Orchestra
5. Mapping the Genome: Blueprint of Lifeand Death
6. Mapping the Brain: Using Neuroimaging to See How the Brain Thinks
Part III The Burden of Mental Illnesses
7. Understanding What Mental Illnesses Are: The Past Is Prologue to Progress
8. Schizophrenia: A Mind Divided
9. Mood Disorders: Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster
10. Dementias: A Death in Life
11. Anxiety Disorders: The Stress Regulator Goes Wild
Part IV: Brave New Brain
12. Brave New World: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome
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