FEATURE

Neuroscience

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    "This is a book of miracles. Fascinating...An absorbing compendium of unlikely recoveries from physical and mental ailments offers evidence that the brain can heal...brings Oliver Sacks to mind." (Lisa Appignanesi, Observer). The Brain's Way of Healing explores the astonishing advances in the discovery of neuroplasticity, showing that the brain has its own unique way of healing, only recently uncovered. Norman Doidge discusses a series of remarkable recoveries: patients told they would never improve have years of chronic pain alleviated or damage from debilitating strokes undone, and symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, brain injury, autism or learning disorders are reversed. He also shows how the risk of dementia can be lowered by 60 per cent. Using stories to present cutting-edge science, Doidge illustrates principles that everyone can apply to improve their brain's performance.
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    Why does holding a hot drink make us like people more? How can a soldier under fire not even notice he's been shot? What makes sex so much fun? Touch is the most important sense we have. Without it, we cannot entirely feel pleasure or pain - we are less than human. In fact, as David Linden demonstrates in the astonishing stories gathered here, touch is central to who we are - from choosing our partners to comforting us on our deathbeds. Exploring the many surprising facts and myths about our sense of touch, Linden reveals how it defines us - and how, by understanding it, we can better know ourselves.
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    'This is the story of how your life shapes your brain, and how your brain shapes your life.' Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman on a whistle-stop tour of the inner cosmos. It's a journey that will take you into the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, genocide, brain surgery, robotics, and the search for immortality. On the way, amidst the infinitely dense tangle of brain cells and their trillions of connections, something emerges that you might not have expected to see: you.
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    This is an illustrated guide to the structure, functions and disorders of the human brain. The Brain Book combines the latest findings from neuroscience with new brain imaging techniques to reveal the intricate wonder of the human brain. Through unique computer-generated 3D images, brain MRI scans and stunning graphics, you'll enjoy a guided tour of the brain's anatomy in unprecedented detail with this award-winning book. You can discover how the brain works, from its function as the hub of the nervous system to brain disorders. You can gain insight into such esoteric aspects as behaviour, language and communication and discover the nature of genius. Incisive, clear and authoritative, this updated edition of The Brain Book (previous ISBN 9781405341295) is an essential human brain manual for students and healthcare professionals, as well as a comprehensive reference book for the family.
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    Leading us through cognitive theory, neuroscience and Darwinian evolution with his trademark wit and wisdom, Michael Corballis explains what we know - and don't know - about our minds. How do we know if we're really the top dogs in brain power? Does our creativity stem solely from the right brain? From language to standing upright, composing music to lying, he uncovers our most common misconceptions and the fascinating habits and abilities that make us human.
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    Everything we think, do and refrain from doing is determined by our brain. From religion to sexuality, it shapes our potential, our desires and our characters. Taking us through every stage in our lives, from the womb to falling in love to old age, Dick Swaab shows that we don't just have brains: we are our brains. "A blockbuster about the brain ...provocative, fascinating, remarkable." (Clive Cookson, Financial Times). "A giant in the field." (Zoe Williams, Guardian). "Engrossing, intriguing and enlightening." (Robin Ince). "Enchantingly written." (The Times Higher Education). "Wide-ranging, fun and informative ...as an ice-breaker at parties, it is unmatched." (Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times).
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    Acclaimed journalist and intrepid brain "explorer" Lone Frank embarks on an incredible adventure to the frontiers of neuroscience to reveal how today's top scientists are reinventing human nature, morality, happiness, health, and reality itself. Interlacing bizarre experiments, cutting-edge science, and irreverent interviews, The Neurotourist is an odyssey through the mind-bending revolution underway in the new age of the brain.
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    Barbara Arrowsmith-Young was born with severe learning disabilities that caused teachers to label her as slow, stubborn - or worse. As a child, she read and wrote everything backwards, was physically uncoordinated and she continually got lost. But by relying on her formidable memory and iron will, she made her way to graduate school, where she chanced upon research that inspired her to invent cognitive exercises to 'fix' her own brain, which we now know as neuroplasticity. The Woman Who Changed Her Brain interweaves Barbara's personal story with riveting case histories from over thirty years of working with both children and adults at what became the Arrowsmith School in Toronto. This remarkable book by a brilliant pioneer deepens our understanding of how the brain works. Our brains may shape us, but this book offers clear and hopeful evidence of the corollary: that we can shape our brains. It includes a foreword by Norman Doidge, M. D., author of The Brain that Changes Itself.
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    Are we all at the mercy of our brain chemistry? Do you think that the amygdala and the hippocampus are fantastical sea monsters? What can an MRI scan tell us? Could you explain to dinner-party guests why we don't giggle when we tickle ourselves? 30-Second Brain is here to fill your mind with the science of exactly what's happening inside your head. Using no more than two pages, 300 words and an illustration, this is the quickest way to understand the wiring and function of the most complex and intricate mechanism in the human body. Discover how the networks of 90 billion nerve cells work together to produce perception, action, cognition and emotion. Explore how your brain defines your personality, and what it gets up to while you are asleep. Illustrated with mind-bending graphics and supported by biographies of pioneers in the field of neuroscience, it's the book to get your grey matter thinking about your grey matter.
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    The approachable, comprehensive guide to neurobiology Neurobiology rolls the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the nervous system into one complex area of study. Neurobiology For Dummies breaks down the specifics of the topic in a fun, easy-to-understand manner. The book is perfect for students in a variety of scientific fields ranging from neuroscience and biology to pharmacology, health science, and more. With a complete overview of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of the nervous system, this complete resource makes short work of the ins and outs of neurobiology so you can understand the details quickly. Dive into this fascinating guide to an even more fascinating subject, which takes a step-by-step approach that naturally builds an understanding of how the nervous system ties into the very essence of human beings, and what that means for those working and studying in the field of neuroscience. The book includes a complete introduction to the subject of neurobiology. Gives you an overview of the human nervous system, along with a discussion of how it's similar to that of other animals Discusses various neurological disorders, such as strokes, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia Leads you through a point-by-point approach to describe the science of perception, including how we think, learn, and remember Neurobiology For Dummies is your key to mastering this complex topic, and will propel you to a greater understanding that can form the basis of your academic and career success.
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    What can a brain scan, or our reaction to a Caravaggio painting, reveal about the deep seat of guilt? How can reading Heidegger, or conducting experiments on rats, help us to cope with anxiety in the face of the world's economic crisis? Can ancient remedies fight sadness more effectively than anti-depressants? What does the neuroscience of acting tell us about how we feel empathy, and fall for an actor on stage? What can writing poetry tell us about how joy works? And how can a bizarre neurological syndrome or a Shakespearean sonnet explain love and intimacy? We live at a time when neuroscience is unlocking the secrets of our emotions. But is science ever enough to explain why we feel the way we feel? Giovanni Frazzetto takes us on a journey through our everyday lives and most common emotions. In each chapter, his scientific knowledge mixes with personal experience to offer a compelling account of the continual contrast between rationality and sentiment, science and poetry. And he shows us that by facing this contrast, we can more fully understand ourselves and how we feel.
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    Michio Kaku, the international bestselling author of Physics of the Impossible, gives us a stunning and provocative vision of the future of the mind. Recording memories, mind reading, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis - no longer are these feats of the mind solely the province of overheated science fiction. As Michio Kaku reveals, with the latest advances in brain science and recent astonishing breakthroughs in technology, they already exist. In The Future of the Mind, the New York Times-bestselling author takes us on a stunning, provocative and exhilarating tour of the top laboratories around the world to meet the scientists who are already revolutionising the way we think about the brain - and ourselves. "Summons up the sheer wonder of science". (Daily Telegraph). "Compelling...Kaku thinks with great breadth, and the vistas he presents us are worth the trip". (New York Times Book Review). Michio Kaku is a professor of physics at the City University of New York, cofounder of string field theory, and the author of several widely acclaimed science books, including Hyperspace, Beyond Einstein, Physics of the Impossible, and Physics of the Future.
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    Neuroscience is one of the most fascinating and complex areas of scientific research, with new advances being made every day. In 50 Human Brain Ideas You Really Need to Know, Mo Costandi condenses all we know about the brain and how it works into series of introductions to the most important concepts. Outlining both long-standing theories - such as the function of neurons and synaptic transmission - and cutting-edge ideas - including neuroethics and brain-computer interfacing - with straightforward narrative and clear two-colour illustrations, this book is a perfect beginner's guide to the most powerful and mysterious organ in the body. The ideas explored include: The nervous impulse; Differences between the male and female brain; The root of addiction; Neurobiological basis for personality; The relationship between sleep and memory.
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    What is happening in the brain when we drink too much alcohol, get high on ecstasy or experience road rage? Emotion, says internationally acclaimed neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, is the building block of consciousness. As our minds develop we create a personalized inner world based on our experiences. But during periods of intense emotion, such as anger, fear or euphoria, we can literally lose our mind, returning to the mental state we experienced as infants. Challenging many preconceived notions, Susan Greenfield's groundbreaking book seeks to answer one of science's most enduring mysteries: how our unique sense of self is created.
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    Over a period of a million years the human brain expanded at an increasingly rapid rate, and then, 200,000 years ago, the expansion abruptly stopped. Modern science has overlooked this in order to maintain that we are at the pinnacle of our evolution. However, the halt in brain expansion explains not only recently uncovered anomalies within the human brain but also the global traditions of an earthly paradise lost and of humanity's degeneration from our original state of perpetual wonder and joy. Drawing on more than 20 years of research, authors Tony Wright and Graham Gynn explore how our modern brains are performing far below their potential and how we can unlock our higher abilities and return to the euphoria of Eden. They explain how for millions of years early forest-dwelling humans were primarily consuming the hormone-rich sex organs of plants--fruit--each containing a highly complex biochemical cocktail evolved to influence DNA transcription, rapid brain development, and elevated neural and pineal gland activity. Citing recent neurological and psychological studies, the authors explain how the loss of our symbiotic fruit-based diet led to a progressive neurodegenerative condition characterized by aggressive behaviors, a fearful perception of the world, and the suppression of higher artistic, mathematical, and spiritual abilities. The authors show how many shamanic and spiritual traditions were developed to counteract our decline. They outline a strategy of raw foods, tantric sexuality, shamanic practices, and entheogen use to reverse our degeneration, restore our connection with the plant world, and regain the bliss and peace of the brain of Eden.
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    In The Greatest Show on Earth Richard Dawkins takes on creationists, including followers of 'Intelligent Design' and all those who question the fact of evolution through natural selection. Like a detective arriving on the scene of a crime, he sifts through fascinating layers of scientific facts and disciplines to build a cast-iron case: from the living examples of natural selection in birds and insects; the 'time clocks' of trees and radioactive dating that calibrate a timescale for evolution; the fossil record and the traces of our earliest ancestors; to confirmation from molecular biology and genetics. All of this, and much more, bears witness to the truth of evolution.

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    'can we doubt ...that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and of procreating their kind?' In the Origin of Species (1859) Darwin challenged many of the most deeply held beliefs of the Western world. His insistence on the immense length of the past and on the abundance of life-forms, present and extinct, dislodged man from his central position in creation and called into question the role of the Creator. He showed that new species are achieved by natural selection, and that absence of plan is an inherent part of the evolutionary process. Darwin's prodigious reading, experimentation, and observations on his travels fed into his great work, which draws on material from the Galapagos Islands to rural Staffordshire, from English back gardens to colonial encounters. The present edition provides a detailed and accessible discussion of his theories and adds an account of the immediate responses to the book on publication. The resistances as well as the enthusiasms of the first readers cast light on recent controversies, particularly concerning questions of design and descent.
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    Acclaimed as the most influential work on evolution written in the last hundred years, "The Blind Watchmaker" offers an inspiring and accessible introduction to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. A brilliant and controversial book, which demonstrates that evolution by natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially non-random process discovered by Darwin - is the only answer to the biggest question of all: why do we exist?
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    Powerful new research methods are providing fresh and vivid insights into the makeup of life. Comparing gene sequences, examining the atomic structure of proteins and looking into the geochemistry of rocks have all helped to explain creation and evolution in more detail than ever before. Nick Lane uses the full extent of this new knowledge to describe the ten greatest inventions of life, including DNA, sex, sight and consciousness, based on their historical impact, role in living organisms today and relevance to current controversies. Lane also explains how these findings have come about, and the extent to which they can be relied upon. The result is a vivid, gripping and lucid account of the ingenuity of nature, and a book which is essential for anyone who has wondered at how we came to be here.
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    The presenter of BBC's The Incredible Human Journey gives us a new and highly accessible look at our own bodies, allowing us to understand how we develop as an embryo, from a single egg into a complex body, and how our embryos contain echoes of our evolutionary past. Bringing together the latest scientific discoveries, Professor Alice Roberts illustrates that evolution has made something which is far from perfect. Our bodies are a quirky mix of new and old, with strokes of genius alongside glitches and imperfections which are all inherited from distant ancestors. Our development and evolutionary past explains why, as embryos, we have what look like gills, and as adults we suffer from back pain. This is a tale of discovery, not only exploring why and how we have developed as we have, but also looking at the history of our anatomical understanding. It combines the remarkable skills and qualifications Alice Roberts has as a doctor, anatomist, osteoarchaeologist and writer. Above all, she has a rare ability to make science accessible, relevant and interesting to mainstream audiences and readers.
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    The Origin of Species may be the most famous book in science but its stature tends to obscure much of Charles Darwin's other works. His visit to the Galapagos lasted just five weeks and on his return he never left Britain again. Darwin spent forty years working on the plants, animals and people of his native land and wrote over six million words on topics as different as dogs, insect-eating plants, orchids, earthworms, apes and human emotion. Together they laid the foundations of modern biology. In this beautifully written, witty and illuminating book, Steve Jones explores the domestic Darwin, tracing the great naturalist's journey across Britain: a voyage not of the body, but of the mind.
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    In 1859, Charles Darwin shocked the world with a radical theory - evolution by natural selection. One hundred and fifty years later, his theory still challenges some of our most precious beliefs. "Introducing Evolution" provides a step-by-step guide to 'Darwin's dangerous idea' and takes a fresh look at the often misunderstood concepts of natural selection and the selfish gene. Drawing on the latest findings from genetics, ecology and animal behaviour - as well as the work of best-selling science writers such as Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker - a string of brilliant examples, superbly illustrated by Howard Selina, reveals how the evidence in favour of evolutionary theory is stronger than ever. With wit and clarity, Dylan Evans addresses many puzzling issues: Did life first evolve on other planets? What's the advantage of having sex? Why do your parents look after you? And what good to a bird is half a wing? From the death of the dinosaurs to the development of digital organisms, "Introducing Evolution" brings Darwin up-to-date with the latest scientific discoveries. This is the ideal guide to the most important idea ever to appear in the history of science.
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    Evolution: The Whole Story contains everything you need to know about the development and survival of life on Earth. Each chapter of this accessible and lavishly illustrated book takes a major living group and presents thematic essays discussing the evolution of particular subgroups as they appeared on Earth with reference to detailed comparative anatomy, evolutionary legacies, and the breakthrough theories of eminent scientists. Accompanying the essays are amazing photographic features that investigate the characteristics of individual organisms in detail: in some, remarkable fossils, assembled skeletons, and lifelike reconstructions are presented and analyzed; while in others, living species are depicted and compared in detail to their direct ancestors, creatures that may have lived millions of years ago.
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    Charles Mann
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    Two hundred million years ago the earth consisted of a single vast continent, Pangea, surrounded by a great planetary sea. Continental drift tore apart Pangaea, and for millennia the hemispheres were separate, evolving almost entirely different suites of plants and animals. Columbus's arrival in the Americas brought together these long-separate worlds. Many historians believe that this collision of ecosystems and cultures-the Columbian Exchange-was the most consequential event in human history since the Neolithic Revolution. And it was the most consequential event in biological history since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Beginning with the world of microbes and moving up the species ladder to mankind, Mann rivetingly describes the profound effect this exchanging of species had on the culture of both continents.