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"This book is, in short, a remarkable achievement. . . . Neurology has found a fine advocate."—The Lancet
In this compelling book, neurologist Adam Zeman tells the stories of patients with a variety of neurological disorders, some familiar (epilepsy, chronic fatigue, stroke, memory loss) and others relatively mysterious (narcolepsy, chronic déjà vu, compulsive fidgeting, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). Chapter by chapter, the author reveals the various levels of the brain, from the atom to the mind, and explores what happens when workings at each level go awry. Zeman requires of his readers no special knowledge of medicine or science, yet he takes us to the very frontiers of current scientific knowledge and elucidates the workings of the brain in astonishing detail.
The book weaves together fascinating case histories, clear accounts of concepts and discoveries in neuroscience, and an intimate view of the suspense, excitement, fun, and angst that color a neurologist’s days. Zeman also considers what the brain’s behavior and misbehavior can tell us about the human self as physical system, living creature, and conscious mind. In a final chapter he reflects on the place of the mind in nature. On every page Zeman both entertains and informs, and readers will find themselves pondering the enigmas of brain and mind long after closing the covers of this thought-provoking volume.
"A fascinating tale about what we do know about the brain, and what happens when it goes wrong. . . . [Zeman] comes across as a lucid explainer of scientific complexity, but also as a humane medical practitioner."—Clive Cookson, Financial Times Magazine
"In this accessible, erudite and wise book Adam Zeman moves effortlessly from the narrative and personal to the scientific and empirical. He writes with passion of his fascination for the subject, together with the sheer excitement of making a diagnosis. This book is inspiring; give it to any student with an inclination towards neuroscience and they ought to be hooked." - Jonathan Cole, author of Still Lives: Narratives of Spinal Cord Injury