Reviewer: Alexander Kolchinsky, PhD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: This is the latest volume of the most authoritative collection of reviews of neuroscience published yearly.
Purpose: It consists of 16 chapters written by leaders in neuroscience research and is intended to provide an overview of current developments at the forefront of neuroscience.
Audience: The audience is expected to have extensive background either in basic or in clinical science.
Features: The first chapter discusses the controversial issue of genetic versus environmental impact on human behavior ("nature vs. nurture") and leaves the reader confused by the complexity of the problem. Modeling of neuronal networks based on electric properties of individual neurons and synapses is presented in three chapters. Four chapters are dedicated to clinical problems of neuroscience: one discusses human diseases caused by mutations in cell adhesion molecules Po, L1, and merosin; another is dedicated to a growing list of human autoimmune diseases of PNS; a third presents emerging data on the role of zinc in brain damage; and in the last chapter, genetics of Alzheimer's disease is related to existing animal models. Three chapters discuss specific animal models. Visual cortex of macaque monkeys is studied as a model of visual perception; the use of Caenorhabditis elegans in signal transduction studies is discussed in another chapter; widely publicized results of memory studies in Drosophila are presented as well. There are two chapters on the molecular basis of synapsis formation and CREB role in memory. One chapter discusses a very general problem of regulated gene expression in transgenic animals. Two chapters focus on nervous system development. The volume has a concise subject index, an alphabetic list of contributors to the last ten issues of the Annual Review of Neuroscience, and an alphabetical list of all chapter titles from the same ten issues. Illustrations are black and white and either present pivotal experiments indispensable for the understanding of major concepts, or schemes and diagrams.
Assessment: This is the best source of authoritative reviews in neuroscience.