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Publisher's Summary

The Brain: A Very Short Introduction provides a non-technical introduction to the main issues and findings in current brain research, and gives a sense of how neuroscience addresses questions about the relationship between the brain and the mind. It includes chapters on brain processes, perception, memory, motor control and the causes of "altered mental states". A final chapter discusses possible future developments in neuroscience, touching on artificial intelligence, gene therapy, the importance of the Human Genome Project, drugs by design, and transplants.
©2006 Oxford University Press; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

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By Mirek on 08-31-09

Small book about greatest mistery.

The Brain: A Very Short Introduction

There is no question: the mystery of brain is a challenge for science. Not just for the neuroscience.

The challenge that most surely will not be met in any predictable time.

The amazing little book: "The Brain: A Very Short Introduction" is a title in the Oxford University Press Series "Very Short Introductions" aimed at general readers and beginners alike.

Michael O'Shea's "The Brain" is a kind of the popular review of the state of art of brain research. Using simple terminology, the book covers the structure of the brain, signal transmission, evolutionary transformation of the brain, senses and effectors and the current understanding of the complex problem of memory. It also contains some analysis of very recent advances in robotics when it comes to its relation to neuroscience. And many, many more fascinating topics...

Among them is the very recent notion of "wireless-like", non-synaptic communication in the brain. Called "volume signalling" or GasNets, allows remote neurons to communicate without any synaptic connections.

There are fascinating short stories of discoveries as well. For example I was amazed by the description of the essence of Eric Kandel remarkable discoveries about memory.

I also found a very good, non-naive passages about relation of modern neuroscience and computer science. Some simple analysis presented by the author make the pretentious claims of strong AI proponents just ridiculous.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful


By Chief Break Everything on 10-14-11

A good introduction to discussions about the brain

There's a good amount of technical discussion in this book, which is exactly why I got it (to supplement my psychobiology class). If you don't know much about brain anatomy, you might find yourself opening up the dictionary pretty often. But it's all very interesting, and it's read slowly enough that I don't think it's impossible to follow. If you're looking for more of a real life-application type of book, this probably isn't it, but it's a good primer for those books.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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