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In The Changing Brain, Ira Black tells the fascinating story of modern neuroscience. A rich, multifaceted tale spanning a century and taking place on multiple continents, it moves from Fascist Italy, with the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF) by a young scientist working secretly in a makeshift laboratory in her bedroom, to current experiments in which transplanted, laboratory-grown cells lead to recovery and function in damaged brain regions. In the mid 1990s, a revolutionary new conception of the brain emerged—instead of the traditional view that the brain's role in perception, memory, learning, and emotions was based on a static, non-renewable network of brain cells and connections, research revealed that the human brain is an ever-changing, fantastically complex system that is continually being shaped and reshaped by a subtle interplay of genetic clues and life experiences.
To bridge the gap between abstract concepts and real-world experience, Dr. Black draws upon his expertise as a clinical neurologist to provide a dramatic account—the fictionalized story of a successful investment banker named Enoch Wallace and his battle with Alzheimer's disease—that vividly illuminates the narrative. From his first fleeting memory lapses to his final descent into dementia, each step in Wallace's decline becomes a window into another aspect of brain function and the latest groundbreaking research in neuroscience.
|Preface: The Constancy of Change|
|Ch. 1||The Brain Connection||3|
|Ch. 2||The Survival Signal||23|
|Ch. 3||How to Live in the Brain||49|
|Ch. 5||Death and the Brain||99|
|Ch. 6||Brain Birthdays||123|
|Ch. 7||Brain Glue||149|
|Ch. 8||The Brain Captures Time||163|
|Ch. 9||Growth that Kills||199|
|Ch. 10||The Brain as a Renewable Resource||219|
|Epilogue: Enoch's Endgame||239|
|Afterword: Lest Ye See Miracles||243|