The Other Brain

  • by R. Douglas Fields
  • Narrated by Victor Bevine, R. Douglas Fields (introduction)
  • 12 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an introduction written and read by the author, R. Douglas Fields.


What the Critics Say

"In 16 absorbing and accessible chapters, Fields gives life to a potentially dry medical topic by eavesdropping on the work of other neuroscientists, past and present, and shows how penetrating glia's secrets offers hope for breakthroughs in healing Alzheimer’s, brain tumors, and even spinal cord injuries. Highly recommended, especially to science lovers and medical professionals." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I don't have enough brain to read about the brain.

Wow, even though I am in the medical field I found this book a tough one. The level at which things are explained are more suited to someone doing an advanced degree in neuropsycology. There should have been some sort of not attempt this at home....very heavy, very detailed, very in-depth coverage of the brain. This book is not meant for us with "regular" brains, only those who are "brainiacs" should attempt to understand this one. All it really did was confirm that I do not posses enough white matter...or grey....and probably am deficient of some synapses too. Oh well...
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- Joan

Excellent, interesting, eye opening book.

Great Book. This is the third book narrated by Victor Bevine, that I have listened to. His voice is very pleasant and I am surprised that I don't enjoy listening to him as much as I would expect. Something about the way he narrates makes listening a tad tedious. He should try to make his narration a bit more lively and conversational. This is a great book and I would strongly recommend it to anyone else interested in the human brain.
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- Pradheepa

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-28-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios