Exploring the Brain : brain box

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brain box

 

This is an excellent textbook! It is actually a pleasure to read. I have read (or attempted to read) other neuroscience textbooks, but have found them boring and at times confusing. This book is neither, though it contains more detailed and in depth information than the other texts did. The authors have written a text that makes complex material easily understandable. The text is enhanced by what the authors describe as "special interest" boxes "designed to illuminate the relevance of the material to the students' everyday lives", "brain food" boxes that contain more advanced material for students who want to understand the material in more depth than might be presented in an introductory course, and "path of discovery" boxes, which provide fascinating histories of how the discoveries were made and make the text more relevant and meaningful. There are also figures illustrating the material throughout the text.

Learning from this textbook has been easy because it has been based on understanding, whereas with other texts I struggled with memorizing what felt like disparate facts (at least to me). It could be that this is because I came to this textbook with some rudimentary knowledge that I did not have when approaching some of the other texts, but I don't think so. I think that learning has been so much
easier because of the way the authors have presented the material. It almost reads like a mystery novel.
I picked this book up two days ago and have had trouble pulling myself away from it. This is the best neuroscience textbook I have ever encountered. Many thanks to the authors!

Two reasons why some might try to sell you on this vs. the third: 1. It is for a class and the teacher insists that some of the exercises or animations are more up to date here or 2. You agree with the publisher that a "lot" has happened in Neuroscience since 2006.

I've gone page for page over the exercises, and unless your teacher is a real butthead, or paid by the publisher, they really are not that different in this edition! Besides, this is NOT a deeply technical text, it is a very student friendly overview that actually is a real pleasure to read. The authors are such good writers, that it reads like a novel, and both editions have been praised for making reading/studying a dopamine studded pleasurable experience, not a painful chore.

As far as all the new science: well, hmmm. There IS a lot of new research, which you can look up on the web. BUT, the genome stuff, and functional MRI, were abundantly present 9 years ago, and the fine illustrations in the Third (as well as this) can't be much improved by animation. The requests for "internalization" of brain images were not really changed in this edition, and the online material is updated, but the third's online is/was so good, as well as the CD for you auditory folk, that it was a hard act to follow.

Unlike many rushed out "new" editions, there IS significant work put into this new edition; it is not a scam like many other texts that rip us off every other year with "new." However, if you're reading it for self study, or even to augment a class with another primary text, the third should definitely be considered given the price difference. I write here for readers on a budget like me, if money is no object, I'd get this book over the third in a heartbeat, just for some of the web extras and some of the newer illustrations.

My two main interests, intelligence and pharmacokinetics of the brain, weren't expanded much between the two, so consider my biases in this regard also. I don't really get the publishers "DNA sequencing" comments, because most of the molecular presentation is very similar, and the new web references to newer research is, well, on the web! Again, if money is not a consideration, the new web material and citations ARE great, more up to date, and worth it. The real issue is that both of these fine editions are treasured NOT for their research depth but for their readability, and you can't improve much on that with the fine third.

For reference, I'm a roboticist and a member of the NENGO team in neural research. I use the third edition of this text in online neuro classes, then specific other texts in areas this introduces. IF YOU TEACH I will guarantee you one thing for sure: your students will LOVE you for EITHER edition of this text, as it is one of the most well written, enjoyable books in ANY field. It's like Bob Spetzler meets John Grisham, a real page turner. How many texts can you honestly say that about? Enjoy!

About the Author

Dr. Mark Bear is Picower Professor of Neuroscience in the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to moving to MIT in 2003, Dr. Bear was on the faculty of Brown University School of Medicine for 17 years where he held the Sidney and Dorothy Doctors Fox Chair in Visual Neuroscience. He was an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for 22 years from 1994 to 2015, and served as Director of the Picower Institute from 2007 to 2009. After receiving his B.S. degree from Duke University, Dr. Bear earned his Ph.D. degree in neurobiology at Brown. He took postdoctoral training from Wolf Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, and from Leon Cooper at Brown. Bear’s laboratory has substantially advanced knowledge of how cerebral cortex is modified by experience. He made fundamental discoveries on bidirectional synaptic plasticity, metaplasticity, the molecular basis of amblyopia (a cause of visual disability in children), and the pathophysiology of fragile X syndrome (the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability and autism). He has been at the forefront of the efforts to translate knowledge of autism pathophysiology into new treatments. He has been recognized with a number of honors including the Brown University Class of 2000 Barrett Hazeltine Citation for Teaching Excellence, the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award, the National Fragile X Foundation William & Enid Rosen Research Award, the Fragile X Research Foundation (FRAXA) Pioneer Award, the Ipsen Foundation Neural Plasticity Prize, the Beckman-Argyros Award in Vision Research, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Barry Connors is the L. Herbert Ballou University Professor of Neuroscience and a Professor of Medical Science at Brown University and the Alpert Medical School. He is also a member of the Carney Institute for Brain Science at Brown. Dr. Connors received a B.S. from the University of Dayton, a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from Duke University in 1979, and then pursued postdoctoral training with David Prince and Stephen Waxman at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was a faculty member at Stanford from 1982 to 1987, and was recruited to Brown in 1987. He served as Chair of theDepartment of Neuroscience at Brown from 2006 to 2016. Dr. Connors' research has revealed cellular properties of the cerebral cortex and the thalamus, functions of electrical and chemical synapses, and the behavior of small neural networks in the mammalian brain. His current work focuses on neural dynamics of the forebrain during normal behavior and the seizures of epilepsy, and on the roles of neuronal and synaptic dysfunctions in neurodevelopmental disorders. He has been awarded a Klingenstein Fellowship in the Neurosciences, a Research Career Development Award from NIH, a Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award from NIH, and was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on the editorial boards of numerous journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurophysiology, Cerebral Cortex, and Brain Structure and Function.

Michael Paradiso is the Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science and Professor of Neuroscience at Brown University. He is the Founding Director of Brown’s Center for Vision Research and a member of Brown’s Carney Institute for Brain Science. Dr. Paradiso received a B.S. in physics from Pomona College and subsequently worked as a Research Engineer at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA. He received a Ph.D. in physics from Brown University. He was a Miller Research Fellow in neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked with Ralph Freeman, and later conducted postdoctoral research with Ken Nakayama at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco. Dr. Paradiso’s research has investigated brain mechanisms underlying visual perception; these include form perception, surface perception, visual attention, perceptual constancies, and vision in natural visual contexts. His ongoing research investigates the role that saccadic eye movements play in coordinating activity in visual cortex for visual processing and object recognition. The lab is also developing a visual prosthesis for people with low vision and blindness. Dr. Paradiso is course director of Brown’s popular introductory neuroscience course, for which Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain was written. He has received awards including the Elizabeth H. LeDuc Award for Teaching Excellence in the Life Sciences, the Harriet W. Sheridan Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning, and the Undergraduate Council of Students Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has served on the editorial boards of Vision Research and the Journal of Vision and for many years he sat on the Executive Committee of the Vision Sciences Society.

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