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The Other Brain: From Dementia to…
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The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about…

by R. Douglas Fields

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What's not to like about a book on glial cells?

Though slightly repetitive and sometimes a bit overboard with speculations expressed as if they were facts, this is still a very interesting and useful overview of the parts of the brain that may have been unknown or overlookewd when you were in school. The descriptions are generally clear and presented at a useful, functional level. There's a certain amount of breathless catastrophic thinking at times, but it's more than balanced by the utility of the bulk of the book. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
This author is a terrible writer and not very good at cohesively presenting findings. I get that his specialty is glia, but he has a bad habit of introducing a topic, mentioning some sort of connection with glia, and then moving on. On some topics the non-glia specific details are muddled and work at cross purposes.

There are better brain writers, and while glia are a topic that isn't written about enough, Dr. Fields isn't helping the state of affairs. The chapters are obviously a mish-mash of pieces written for magazines and other outlets which he edited and threw together into one book.

When you're only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To Dr. Fields, every problems is rooted in glia, and I'm not sure this is the best lens for looking at every issue in neuroscience which he attempts to string together. ( )
  Yiggy | Aug 13, 2012 |
Fascinating! ( )
  patchermark | Aug 3, 2011 |
If you are at all interested in "brain science", you MUST read this book!
Formerly, I would have said "If you are at all interested in neuroscience, you MUST read this book!", but Dr. Fields has completely altered my view regarding brain science with this engaging review of the cutting-edge of brain research that is only recently shifting much of the attention from neurons to glia.

Did you know that glia process information? Not in in the same "speedier" way as neurons, but in what appears to be a slower, more experience-and-learning based way. It is glia that myelinate axons, thereby increasing their "processing speed". But glia do so much more, including "architecting" the brain, repairing it, and more.

Dr. Fields makes a convincing case that much more research needs and deserves to be done regarding glia, and such research will be as important as or more so than what has already been done regarding neurons.
One may go so far as to suggest that a renaming of "neuroscience" to brain science is in order - to include BOTH neurons and glia as important partners in information processing in the brain. ( )
  motjebben | Nov 9, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743291417, Hardcover)

Despite everything that has been written about the brain, a very important part of this vital organ has been overlooked in most books -- until now. The Other Brain is the story of glia, which make up approximately 85 percent of the cells in the brain. Long neglected as little more than cerebral packing material ("glia" means glue), glia are sparking a revolution in brain science.

Glia are completely different from neurons, the brain cells that we are familiar with. Scientists are discovering that glia have their own communication network, which operates in parallel to the more familiar communication among neurons. Glia provide the insulation for the neurons, and glia even regulate the flow of information between neurons.

But it is the potential breakthroughs for medical science that are the most exciting frontier in glia research today. Diseases such as brain cancer and multiple sclerosis are caused by diseased glia. Glia are now believed to play an important role in such psychiatric illnesses as schizophrenia and depression, and in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. They are linked to infectious diseases such as HIV and prion disease (mad cow disease, for example) and to chronic pain. Scientists have discovered that glia repair the brain and spinal cord after injury and stroke. The more we learn about these cells that make up the "other" brain, the more important they seem to be.

Written by a neuroscientist who is a leader in the research to reveal the secrets of these brain cells, The Other Brain offers a firsthand account of science in action. It takes us into the laboratories where important discoveries are being made, and it explains how scientists are learning that glial cells come in different types, with different capabilities. It tells the story of glia research from its origins to the most recent discoveries and gives readers a much more complete understanding of how the brain works and where the next breakthroughs in brain science and medicine are likely to come.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:59 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Despite everything that has been written about the brain, a very important part of this vital organ has been overlooked in most books - until now. The Other Brain is the story of glia, which make up approximately 85 percent of the cells in the brain. Long neglected as little more than cerebral packing material ("glia" means glue), glia are sparking a revolution in brain science." "Glia are completely different from neurons, the brain cells that we are familiar with. Scientists are discovering that glia have their own communication network, which operates in parallel to the more familiar communication among neurons. Glia provide the insulation for the neurons, and glia even regulate the flow of information between neurons." "But it is the potential breakthroughs for medical science that are the most exciting frontier in glia research today. Diseases such as brain cancer and multiple sclerosis are caused by diseased glia. Glia are now believed to play an important role in such psychiatric illnesses as schizophrenia and depression, and in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. They are linked to infectious diseases such as HIV and priori disease (mad cow disease, for example) and to chronic pain. Scientists have discovered that glia repair the brain and spinal cord after injury and stroke. The more we learn about these cells that make up the "other" brain, the more important they seem to be."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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