Despite everything that has been written about the brain, a potentially critical part of this vital organ has been overlooked—until now. The Other Brain examines the growing importance of glia, which make up approximately 85 percent of the cells in the brain, and the role they play in how the brain functions, malfunctions, and heals itself.
Long neglected as little more than cerebral packing material, glia (meaning “glue”) are now known to regulate the flow of information between neurons and to repair the brain and spinal cord after injury and stroke. But scientists are also discovering that diseased and damaged glia play a significant role in psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression, and in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Diseased glia cause brain cancer and multiple sclerosis and are linked to infectious diseases such as HIV and prion disease (mad cow disease, for example) and to chronic pain. 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 glial research, The Other Brain gives readers a much more complete understanding of how the brain works and an intriguing look at potentially revolutionary developments in brain science and medicine.read more
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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.read more
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