The Dying of Enoch Wallace: Life, Death, and the Changing Brain

Ira B. Black

Published by McGraw-Hill Companies
ISBN 10: 0071362088 / ISBN 13: 9780071362085
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Synopsis: Until recently, theories of the brain and its diseases, and how it gives rise to mind and emotions were based on the model of a static, non-renewable network of nerve cells and their connections. Then, seemingly overnight, a revolutionary new conception of the brain emerged in the mid-1990s. The sudden convergence of discoveries that had been building over decades led to the revelation that, far from being an immutable black box, the brain is a plastic, ever-changing marvel, no less dynamic than our thoughts and emotions -- a complex system that is continually shaped and reshaped by a subtle interplay of genetic cues and life experiences.To bridge the gap between abstract concepts and real world experience, renowned neuroscientist Ira B. Black uses the decline of Enoch Wallace, a fictionalized Alzheimer's patient, to illuminate the fascinating story of modern neuroscience, drawing us into the world of discovery and scientists, with all their color, idiosyncrasies and genius.

Review: What happens in the brain when an old dog learns a new trick--or forgets one? As our health care improves and more of us live longer, we see more neurological deficits, from Alzheimer's to stroke; fortunately, our learning is keeping pace with our aging. The Dying of Enoch Wallace: Life, Death, and the Changing Brain is physician Ira B. Black's look at the state of our understanding of the brain, its development, and its degradation. Peppering his scientific assessments with stories of neurological patients that humanize and make concrete the sometimes abstract concepts, Black keeps the reader's attention throughout. Though he occasionally lapses into strange territory (suggesting at one point that neuroscientists might one day eliminate anger and hate), his historical treatments and thorough explanations of learning, memory, and other brain tasks are engaging and informative. The stories are equally compelling, if mildly depressing--though there's been some progress through the years, most sufferers of brain damage or degeneration have to live with their condition for the rest of their lives. But Black infuses his book with hope and meaning for these patients. We're learning more and more about the brain, and someday we should have its architecture so well understood that treatment will be as simple as setting a broken bone. --Rob Lightner

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Title: The Dying of Enoch Wallace: Life, Death, and...
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: GOOD

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