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.

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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

Riveting

It reads like an adventure story, it leaves you in awe of the workings of the brain. It describes processes in an easy to understand gradual manner and then explains the applications. I couldn't recommend this more to both professionals and lay people alike.
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- Lisa

Some bit of knowledge in the field of neurology...

will help, but for the most part, this book is written in a very engaging and interesting fashion, which, I believe, will appeal even to the layman or someone who has only read a book or two in this field. One might not believe that a book about glial cells in the brain could make for an interesting read, but further discovery about their role in brain function--indeed, the discovery that they HAVE a role in brain function--is an exciting one, bound to shed more light on how the brain does its incredibly complex job--and how better to heal it when it is damaged or diseased. Be patient. Stay with this one. It is well worth it.
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- Douglas

Book Details

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