Rhythms of the Brain

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Studies of mechanisms in the brain that allow complicated things to happen in a coordinated fashion have produced some of the most spectacular discoveries in neuroscience. This book provides eloquent support for the idea that spontaneous neuron activity, far from being mere noise, is actually the source of our cognitive abilities. It takes a fresh look at the coevolution of structure and function in the mammalian brain, illustrating how self-emerged oscillatory timing is the brain's fundamental organizer of neuronal information. The small-world-like connectivity of the cerebral cortex allows for global computation on multiple spatial and temporal scales. The perpetual interactions among the multiple network oscillators keep cortical systems in a highly sensitive "metastable" state and provide energy-efficient synchronizing mechanisms via weak links.

In a sequence of "cycles," György Buzsáki guides the reader from the physics of oscillations through neuronal assembly organization to complex cognitive processing and memory storage. His clear, fluid writing-accessible to any reader with some scientific knowledge-is supplemented by extensive footnotes and references that make it just as gratifying and instructive a read for the specialist. The coherent view of a single author who has been at the forefront of research in this exciting field, this volume is essential reading for anyone interested in our rapidly evolving understanding of the brain.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gyorgy Buzsaki's Rhythms of the Brain is an excellent compendium on the rapidly expanding research into the mechanisms and functions of neuronal synchronization. Buzsaki presents such synchronization as a binding glue that integrates many levels of neuroscientific investigation with one another and with neighboring disciplines...Buzsaki manages to elegantly integrate insights from physics, engineering, and cognitive psychology with contributions from cellular, systems, cognitive, and theoretical neuroscience."—Science

"This is definitely an intriguing book that provides a comprehensive review of current knowledge on brain rhythms...this book is worth the time."—Doody's

"In Rhythms of the Brain, Gyorgy Buzsaki does a remarkable job of summarizing a vast body of literature on the topic...The book is a 'must read' for anyone interested in understanding the functioning of large and complex brain circuits."—Nature

"What makes this book so valuable is its range; Buzsaki has a worldly intellect, open to information from any discipline that provides insight, while insisting on a rigorous distinction between fact and baloney...Perhaps the greatest value of Rhythms of the Brain is that it provides a starting point for students and scientists who see the importance of this field and want to get a solid overview."—Nature Neuroscience

"In this entertaining monograph the author addresses issues related to the genesis of brain rhythms and their contribution to the "invisible operations of the brain"...one of the most thought-provoking and fun books in neuroscience that I have read in some time."—Mathematical Reviews

"Highly original exposition of a broad swathe of modern neuroscience. Indeed, it brings together so many apparently disparate strands, and levels on the reductionistic scale, that it deserves a must read score, especially for neuroscientists looking to get an up-to-date and challenging exposition of many of the big questions, even if they are not fundamentally interested in oscillations per se...If sharp wave ripples, associated with consummatory behavior in rodents, have the same connotations in humans, they too will likely occur in the readers brain as a reward for the attention this book deserves."—Neuron

"The book is beautifully written...This book is seriously recommended for those who truly wonder about the brain and its function."—Neuroscience

"For the non-scientist reader, a really good science book is almost never about science as much as it is about the scientist...But then comes along a book by a literature, engaging scientist. This author, you quickly realize, is willing to take a complex topic and explain, with patience, humility and a modicum of humor as the effort progresses, (1) why he or she thinks one way and not another, (2) discuss with honesty and integrity what is known about the subject and what isn't close to being confirmed and (3) detail candidly the dirty little secrets of the experimental laboratories and the secret little condescensions and the subtle omissions of the experimenters...As it turns out, the rhythms of Dr. Buzsaki's mind have produced a fascinating read that a scientifically curious non-scientist can follow if they are willing to make the effort." —BrainTechnologies

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: This book covers the exciting work being done in the area of brain rhythms and oscillatory sequences. It explains current knowledge on the origins of brain rhythms, the different types of rhythms, and the effect of experience on these oscillations.
Purpose: The intention of this book is to provide information on the multiple oscillatory networks that operate throughout the brain. It focuses on how complicated processes can occur in a coordinated fashion through specific brain rhythms and specially designed brain structures.
Audience: The author states that this book is geared towards a "general audience." While it's not quite that broad or accessible, it certainly is appropriate for psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists, and readers interested in brain development. The book does not require a graduate level education to be comprehendible, but some background in neurophysiology would be helpful. The author is a credible source.
Features: The way in which structure defines function in the brain is the first topic the book tackles. It progresses through chapters on the different types of brain rhythms, excitation versus inhibition, complex systems of rhythms, and the changes in rhythms that occur with learning. Later chapters address hippocampal-specific rhythms that are related to episodic and semantic memory, as well as landmark navigation. The final chapter addresses difficult problems in this field. Each chapter is divided into subsections and ends with a concise summary of the chapter contents. Although there are figures designed to summarize the data, they can be confusing and the print quality leaves something to be desired. A book of this type would be well served by a companion CD-ROM that provides actual brain slices, full color pictures, and animated sequences to demonstrate the principles being described.
Assessment: This is definitely an intriguing book that provides a comprehensive review of current knowledge on brain rhythms. It also provides new insights from the author's perspective on related topics. It is not, however, appropriate for a "general audience" in the typical style of Oliver Sacks. It requires at least a basic background in neurophysiology and familiarity with the notations, figures, and terminology of cognitive neuroscience. Nevertheless, for those at more advanced levels, this book is worth the time.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199828234
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/3/2011
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 334,988
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

György Buzsáki is a Board of Governors Professor of Neuroscience at Rutgers University. His primary research interests are in brain oscillations, sleep and memory, and with more than 200 papers published on these topics, he is among the top 250 most-cited neuroscientists. Dr. Buzsáki is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and he sits on the editorial boards of several leading neuroscience journals.

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Table of Contents

Cycle 1. Introduction.
Cycle 2. Structure defines function.
Cycle 3. Diversity of cortical functions is provided by inhibition.
Cycle 4. Windows on the brain.
Cycle 5. A system of rhythms: from simple to complex dynamics.
Cycle 6. Synchronization by oscillation.
Cycle 7. The brain's default state: self-organized oscillations in rest and sleep.
Cycle 8. Perturbation of the default patterns by experience.
Cycle 9. The gamma buzz: gluing by oscillations in the waking brain.
Cycle 10. Perceptions and actions are brain state-dependent.
Cycle 11. Oscillations in the "other cortex:" navigation in real and memory space.
Cycle 12. Coupling of systems by oscillations.
Cycle 13. The tough problem.

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