Monday, June 7, 2010

The Other Brain

OK, another book review, but one that is simply amazing. First you need only a little bit of scientific background to understand it and a great need to understand how you, or we work; specifically how our brains work at the microscopic and molecular level. The Other Brain by R. Douglas Fields PhD. is a wonderful romp through medical science history coupled with anatomy, physiology and cutting edge research. The author is Chief of the Section on Nervous System Development and Plasticity at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of the NIH. He is also Adjunct Professor in the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science Program a the University of Maryland at College Park. What is the other brain? The other brain has been long neglected, about a century and half worth and may end up being the most important part. Much of the new research is shedding light on dementia, mental illness, cognition, learning and consciousness. The other brain is made up of glia. The so called glue that holds the brains neurons together. It is being discovered that these cells, and there are different types, not only maintain neurons, but are intimately involved in regrowth of nerves, injury, disease and repair of the central nervous system. What is the difference between Einsteins brain and that of an ordinary human? The answer: Einsteins brain had twice as many glia! The glia communicate with each other and neurons, not by electrical means, but chemical. It is slower but it is more global. It also may explain why our mental faculties are not fully developed until our 20's. I heartily recommend this book! It is going into the book store section. If you buy it from this blog site the money will go to help maintain the Minot Skeptical Society and bring in new and interesting speakers.
Peace Skeptical DoDo

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