NeuroDynamix II

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9780195371833: NeuroDynamix II
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The membrane electrical potential is a central element in the functioning of all living cells, and temporal variations of this potential are crucial for signaling within the nervous systems of all animals. Electrical properties of nerve cells are covered in neurobiology courses, but because electrical concepts are complex and textbook illustrations are static, students often find neurophysiology intimidating and inaccessible. In order to make neurophysiology less formidable and more accessible, we developed a comprehensive approach that begins with the elements of electrical circuits. This approach is found in both this book and in NDX II, a modeling system that is available for free online and is largely platform independent.

This book, together with its associated computer simulation lessons, teaches students about neurophysiological concepts, and then the online software further expands their knowledge through modeling experiments. These hands-on simulations serve to deepen students' understanding of basic neurophysiological techniques, including intracellular recording and voltage clamp. NDX II simulates the dynamic properties of neurons at several organizational levels: the membrane patch, neuronal compartments (dendrite, soma, neurite, and axon), individual neurons, and synaptic interactions within neuronal circuits (up to 100 neurons). NDX II models present experimental results dynamically, in the sense that the results are displayed as they are generated, providing a sense of experimental verisimilitude. Based on a user-friendly, highly accessible graphics interface, the models encourage active exploration of physiological properties through the manipulation of model parameters.

NeuroDynamix II embodies a tight interdependence between didactic text and online software. Section I of the book provides explicit, illustrated introductions to electrical concepts, properties of ion channels, resting and action potentials, synaptic interactions, and neuronal circuits. Each didactic subsection concludes with detailed modeling "lessons" that preconfigure NDX II models to illustrate and explore neurophysiological principles. Section II provides brief descriptions of seven integrated models, with complete glossaries of variable and parameter names and units. Sections III and IV furnish detailed descriptions of the equations for the models and summarize numerical methods. The book concludes with a brief computer guide and a bibliography.

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About the Author:


W. Otto Friesen is Professor of Biology at the University of Virginia.

Jonathon A. Friesen is a systems analyst specializing in support of large-scale business applications in the Philadelphia area.

Review:


"The first version of NeuroDynamix was an extremely effective tool for helping students attain a quantitative understanding of neurophysiology, and the new version is even easier to use. The simulations allow students to repeat classic electrophysiology experiments, such as voltage clamping a squid giant axon. More importantly, the structure of the program encourages students to experiment with their own ideas. I have found NeuroDynamix to be an indispensable complement to wet-lab experiments in neurobiology." -- James Angstadt, Siena College


"A concise, approachable and clear introduction to bioelectricity, illustrated interactively using the NeuroDynamix II modeling environment. Undergraduate or graduate students working through the exercises in this book will encounter a diverse set of demonstrations and experiments that build progressively from the properties of simple resistors and R-C circuits to examples of neural networks underlying rhythmic motor patterns. This book will be a valuable supplement to my undergraduate neuroscience course." -- Kevin Crisp, St. Olaf College


"NeuroDynamix II brings us to the very essence of mathematical modelling and computer simulations in biology, deep and simple as they may be. Elaborated with careful didactics and based on a solid scientific background and computer expertise, it is a modern version of a neurophysiology lecture of the highest standard." -- Gisele Akemi Oda, University of Sao Paulo


"Graduate students and scientists who need to become familiar with electrophysiology principles will profit greatly from this tutorial. The greatest strength of NeuroDynamix II is its close integration with a series of computer simulations. These simulations allow the reader to actively manipulate the critical electrophysiological parameters discussed in the didactic presentation." -- Mark D. Rollag, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences


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