- Gebundene Ausgabe: 368 Seiten
- Verlag: Oxford University Press; Auflage: 1 (25. Oktober 2012)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0199603375
- ISBN-13: 978-0199603374
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,8 x 3,6 x 15 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.935.535 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
Brain Supremacy (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 25. Oktober 2012
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"The book shines in presenting a thorough and illuminating analysis of neuroscience methods, past and present. Taylor's explanation is thoughtful, engaging and provides readers with a valuable understanding of what different approaches can offer to both science and society as a whole." - New Scientist
"Well-written and thought-provoking, this book will help scientifically literate readers understand the science behind a potentially unsettling future." - Library Journal
"[Taylor] crafts an elegant guidebook on current technologies and methods for studying the brain... This comprehensive guide to the powers and limitations of neuroscience has much to offer." - Scientific American MIND
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Kathleen Taylor is a freelance writer as well as a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford. In 2002 she won two writing competitions run by the Times Higher Education Supplement, one for science writing and one for an essay in the humanities/social sciences. Her books include Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control (longlisted for an Aventis Prize and translated into eight languages) and Cruelty: Human Evil and the Human Brain.
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The real substance of the book is in unpacking the methods and machines of brain research, starting by showing how these studies rely on ideas borrowed from many other scientific disciplines, including anatomy. The historic naming of the brain’s parts and what they do precedes descriptions of ‘neurotech’ such as electro-encephalography (EEG) and magneto encephalography (MEG), which rely on the movement of charged particles, and positron emission tomography (PET), which is used to monitor brain chemistry using radioactive tracers. There is also a close look at the fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), because that and the other techniques mentioned are the ones readers are most likely to encounter should they need to have their brains investigated. There are chapters on chemical control (e.g. the neuroscience of Prozac) and the tweaking of genes, before a summary of what Taylor sees as the problems inherent in neuro-technology. She warns us of the poor reporting and speculation about research findings in the media.
All in all, this is a fascinating summary of a very complex field, one that is difficult to explain to lay readers, especially non-scientists. Taylor makes a good job of it, but finds it necessary to frequently offer an acronymic apology: IMCOTT (It’s always More COmplicated Than That).
Taylor's choice of title will perhaps appeal (and attract) a certain variety of conspiracy theorist to its pages, but such may be disappointed in what they find here. If wishing to learn how the various brain imaging tools work (are built and operated) this is a great sourcebook, but there are no new Manchurian Candidates here, or any remotely-controllable cyber-human hybrid Iron Man (or woman) to whet the appetite of futurist conspiricists. However, those reading between the lines can nonetheless create for themselves plenty of scenarios concerning new generations of black-ops agents emerging with advanced hemiprostheses with powerful brain activated myoelectrics, possibly now to be combined with pre-dispositional (and environmentally-triggerable) behaviours to be controlled by optogenetic code sequences implanted in their DNA !!
The mind reading (and writing) in Taylor's new book does little to extend her last (see my review of Brainwashing, Metapsy Rev 9 (36)), but does offer much to its reader as a primer on current thinking in mainstream (and cutting edge) neuroscience research. Having explored the moral and ethical imperatives of creating designer minds (think performance enhancing drugs, specialist education and training, or even deliberate genetic tinkering), followed by a quick history of brain anatomy in the early chapters, the real meat begins in the latter half of the book. Chapters 6 through10 each discuss a different brain imaging/activity recording technique, starting with the gamma-emmisions of positron emission tomography (PET), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), flashing back to EEG (and looking to its new future uses), and the newer and stranger quantum physics world of magnetoencephalograpgy (MEG). The last of the electromagnetic techniques explored is that of single- and multi-unit neuronal recording in experimental non-human species (the writer and reviewer's own most frequently-used technique), but the expected extensions of Penfield's (1960s) work, together with the implications of Delgado's work with behavior-modification following indwelling brain-implant stimulation are (surpisingly to me), missing from this book. Indeed, this latter omission together with recent work on deep brain stimulation (DBS) for real-time elevation of mood with depressive patients, would lead themselves well to some deeper (if speculative) discussion here of the potential `mission creep' (intel spin off) following the use of miniature brain implants now in clinical use - from experimental science to psychiatry - towards its use in influencing/supporting lifestyle choice(s), consumer marketing, fashionista apparel, or deliberate targeted behavior manipulation.
The last two technique chapters explore the explosion of knowledge derived from years of our using (and abusing) a variety of cognitive enhancers (aka smart-drugs), not that that we necessarily understand their mechanisms of action, even now. But mush IS now known with respect to their sites of action at the biochemical and neurosynaptic channel levels, their post-binding effects upon changing synaptic receptor numbers, protein synthesis, and genetic switching at the level of RNA transcription. Those readers less familiar with the molecular `wet' end of lab neuroscience will here learn about the amazing discoveries (and effective use of) channel rhodopsins, which may be used to switch `on' or `off' specific neuronal circuits in the brain (using lights of specific frequencies, and in real time !). The other of the two neural wet-ware chapters introduces the `knock-out' and `knock-in' technique of introducing direct neurogenetic effects in directly manipulating the RNA transcription process itself, together with its potential as a targeted gene-activation manipulant, using either experimentally- or environmentally-situated neuropharmacological agents (or even simply dietary element exposure !).
Though not billed as the book's main selling point, the current reviewer strongly recommends this volume to any reader wishing to know more about modern experimental neuroscience, for its excellent introduction to the use of a variety of brain imaging equipments (including how they operate). As such, this is an excellent source for the `how its done/how it works' questioner of neuroscientists' tool kits - but also provides a great resource in informing a better understanding of the limitations of the kinds of results and conclusions which can made available following the use of each technique, and for our becoming best able to interpret and describe brain function, and the mental lives we experience as a result of it.
Dr. Tony Dickinson
Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI, China). June, 2013.