The Changing Brain

The Changing Brain : Alzheimer's Disease and Advances in Neuroscience

4.75 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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In The Changing Brain, Ira Black tells the fascinating story of modern neuroscience. A rich, multifaceted tale spanning a century and taking place on multiple continents, it moves from Fascist Italy, with the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF) by a young scientist working secretly in a makeshift laboratory in her bedroom, to current experiments in which transplanted, laboratory-grown cells lead to recovery and function in damaged brain regions. In the mid 1990s, a revolutionary new concept of the brain emerged, instead of the traditional view that the brain's role in perception, memory, learning, and emotions was based on a static, non-renewable network of brain cells and connections, research revealed that the human brain is an ever-changing, fantastically complex system that is continually being shaped and reshaped by a subtle interplay of genetic clues and life experiences.
To bridge the gap between abstract concepts and real-world experience, the author draws upon his expertise as a clinical neurologist to provide a dramatic account of the fictionalized story of a successful investment banker named Enoch Wallace and his battle with Alzheimer's disease, that vividly illuminates the narrative. From his first fleeting memory lapses to his final descent into dementia, each step in Wallace's decline becomes a window into another aspect of brain function and the latest groundbreaking research in neuroscience.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 170.2 x 215.9 x 18.5mm | 353.81g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 7 line drawings
  • 0195156978
  • 9780195156973
  • 1,741,990

Review quote

Ira Black examines the role that Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) plays in neuronal plasticity with extreme incisiveness and acuity... Someone like myself, who has been involved in the study of NGF during the entire course of my scientific career, cannot but express gratitude and admiration to the author for such an enlightening and innovative vision. * Rita Levi-Montalcini, Nobel Laureate * In an easy and informed style, neuroscientist Ira Black allows us to enter the world of cellular and molecular biology of the human brain... For anyone interested in genes and environmental interaction from a developmental perspective, this is a must read. * Michael Lewis, author of Altering Fate * This book describes the remarkable advances in the neurosciences in colourful and easily understandable language. How these discoveries were made is engrossingly told... [and] should make fascinating reading for the non-scientist and the scientist. * Julius Axelrod, Nobel Laureate * The sheer optimism of Black's book is contagious. While writing about some of the most depressing neurologic illnesses known, he inspires us with the knowledge that help is on the way. In Black's hands the brain can be changed, can be fixed... I couldn't put the book down. * Michael S. Gazzaniga, author of The Mind's Past * A fascinating story, combining important science at the frontiers of human knowledge with gripping human drama, presented with skill by one of our most distinguished neuroscientists. * Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works and Words and Rules * Dr Black is the ideal guide to lead us through the bewildering story behind the recent revolution in neuroscience. We are at the dawn of a new age of the brain and the central nervous system that is nothing short of miraculous. Dr Black is an inspired physician, an inspired writer, and his book is an inspiration to us all. * Christopher Reeve * Black probes the horror of brain disease, scrutinizing the cellular dynamics that trigger it and surveying the therapies used to combat it. But the scientific analysis of synaptic failure does not obscure the human pathos: a poignant account of one man's descent into the Alzheimer's abyss serves as the narrative thread for the whole book and lends emotional resonance to Black's biochemistry. * Booklist * A series of vignettes presenting a fictionalized patient's struggle with Alzheimer's gives readers an emotional narrative they can grasp... Black makes no attempt to dumb down the concepts yet is always lucid and accessible. * Library Journal * An intriguing scientific thriller that, like all good thrillers, weaves multiple plots... The parallel telling of clinical and scientific tales at its best breathes life, personality and clinical relevance into the neuroscience. * Nature Neuroscience *
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About Ira B. Black

Ira B. Black, M.D., is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey. He is a past president of the Society for Neuroscience of North America and is currently Chairman of the Society's Public Information Committee. His pioneering research in neuroscience has earned him numerous awards and honors including the Jacob Javits Award from the National Institutes
of Health, the Levi-Montalcini Award, and the McKnight Award.
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Table of contents

1. The brain connection ; 2. The survival signal ; 3. How to live in the brain ; 4. Families ; 5. Death and the brain ; 6. Brain birthdays ; 7. Brain glue ; 8. The brain captures time ; 9. Growth that kills ; 10. The brain as a renewable resource
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Rating details

4 ratings
4.75 out of 5 stars
5 75% (3)
4 25% (1)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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