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Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring…
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Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are

by Sebastian Seung

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Guy thinks we should map the entire "connectome" of how all the neurons in a human beings are connected. Fails the seriously address the outrageous expense of such work or how useless the resulting data would be. Still it was a good popular introduction to the current state of neuroscience. ( )
  jcvogan1 | Jan 5, 2014 |
Totally interesting - but not quite the right combo of interesting and _?_ for me. Maybe some other time.
  amaraduende | Mar 30, 2013 |
Pop neuroscience: the future possibility and value of mapping a human brain's network of 10^11 neurons and 10^15 synapses. Most notably, the last two chapters discuss cryonic preservation and mind uploading, albeit in a manner I consider to be unsatisfactory. To be skeptical (technologically, scientifically, philosophically) about these transhumanist concerns' chances for success is legitimate; to taint the discussion with religionistic analogies is insulting and inexcusable.
  fpagan | Aug 4, 2012 |
The idea of this neuroscience book is that ones memories and personality are coded in the brain in the pattern of connections formed by the neurons. The author explains neuroscience well, touches as these books commonly do, on Broca’s and Wernicke’s successes at localization. Establishing the exact pattern of connections at the level of detail needed to reproduce a memory is extremely difficult. Researchers spent nearly 10 years making a complete map of neural connections for the round worm, Caenorhabditis Elegans, by visually tracing neurons in electron micrographs. The most promising method at present in the laboratory is scanning electron micrography of a brain being automatically sliced in the microscope. The author is pessimistic, as I am, about cryonic preservation, and about the idea of “uploading” the details of connections to live on as a virtual being in a computer server. ( )
  neurodrew | Mar 12, 2012 |
What makes us who we are? Of course, our genetic map, referred to as the genome, stores our hereditary information, but surely this is not all that there is to us. In fact, only a moment of reflection will help you to understand the impossibility of this. What about the memory of your first love? Is that in your genome? And think for a moment about your failures and the lessons you have learned as a result. That information is not genetic, right? The truth of the matter is simply that we have yet to understand the complexities of our development as whole human creatures and the qualities that make each of us unique. These are still mysteries we have yet to fully comprehend. But an ambitious and capable professor at MIT is working to change all of that. Sebastian Seung, a professor of computational neuroscience, seeks to understand the complex relationship between neuronal connections and what we are as real people. The science may seem a little “mind-boggling,” but Seung, using clear language and his knack for story-telling, will help ordinary people to understand the vast network of neurons and their impact upon the development of what might be referred to as our human core, our hopes and dreams, our passions and fears. The implications are astounding. Seung, along with the help of colleagues, wants to map the “connectome,” a relatively new term used to refer to the intricate system of neuronal connections just mentioned. In Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are, he provides an illustration of how these connections between neurons relate to the paths we take as people. More importantly, it may provide clues to the causes of serious conditions that in many ways hinder the functioning of people in society, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Seung, who has received numerous accolades in a variety of contexts, is at the forefront of a field that promises to achieve many breakthroughs with regard to our understanding of human nature and the reasons behind certain behaviors. Connectome is extremely important for any reader interested in brain science or recent discoveries in neuroscience, but it should also be well-received by readers who generally wish to know more about discoveries involving what shapes us as unique human beings. For more information about the book and its ambitious author, look to the following website: http://connectomethebook.com/. ( )
  readersentertainment | Feb 7, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547508182, Hardcover)

We know that each of us is unique, but science has struggled to pinpoint where, precisely, our uniqueness resides. Is it in our genes? The structure of our brains? Our genome may determine our eye color and even aspects of our personality. But our friendships, failures, and passions also shape who we are. The question is: how?

Sebastian Seung, a dynamic professor at MIT, is on a quest to discover the biological basis of identity. He believes it lies in the pattern of connections between the brain s neurons, which change slowly over time as we learn and grow. The connectome, as it s called, is where our genetic inheritance intersects with our life experience. It s where nature meets nurture.

Seung introduces us to the dedicated researchers who are mapping the brain s connections, neuron by neuron, synapse by synapse. It is a monumental undertaking the scientific equivalent of climbing Mount Everest but if they succeed, it could reveal the basis of personality, intelligence, memory, and perhaps even mental disorders. Many scientists speculate that people with anorexia, autism, and schizophrenia are "wired differently," but nobody knows for sure. The brain s wiring has never been clearly seen.

In sparklingly clear prose, Seung reveals the amazing technological advances that will soon help us map connectomes. He also examines the evidence that these maps will someday allow humans to "upload" their minds into computers, achieving a kind of immortality.

Connectome is a mind-bending adventure story, told with great passion and authority. It presents a daring scientific and technological vision for at last understanding what makes us who we are. Welcome to the future of neuroscience.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:31 -0400)

The audacious effort to map the brain--and along with it our mental afflictions, from autism to schizophrenia--by a rising star in neuroscience.

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