Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
As we grow older, our physical and mental abilities deteriorate. Knowing that decline is the nature of life, the older one becomes, the more grasping one is for new ideas that mitigate life’s inevitable degradation.
“The Other Brain”, written by Dr. Douglas Fields (a department head at the National Institute of Health and adjunct Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Maryland) is an expert in the field of cognitive science; i.e., the exploration of how minds work.
Fields explores several glia related cells and their positive and negative functions in the neurological system. It is not a panacea for cure of neurologically impaired patients or aging brains because experiments show glia cells are both curative and destructive in their effect on the neurological system. However, a second brain does open a new field of opportunity for cure. Maybe young brains can be re-booted and old brains rehabilitated.
I purchased this audiobook, because my mother was diagnosed with dementia. I wanted to learn more about her condition. I am not scientifically inclined in anyway. I was always horrible in science in school. I found this book amazingly fascinating! I learned so much! The book is very easy to listen to for such an amazingly complex topic! I liked the fact that Dr. Fields includes so much history in the book (history has always been a topic that I've been good with); therefore, it made the topics in the book easier for me to grasp. I recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about the human brain and/or any mental disorders.
This has been an amazing listen! I've learned many of bits of stories that I didn't know, and details about history/lives of people who have contributed to science...it was cool to learn more about them as people; some of what I learned was sad and shocking.
This book is pretty much an concise intro/history of neuroscience that leads into an overview of most of the cool things happening/happened in neuroscience, and you walk away knowing a great deal and the prominent people looking at particular areas. (So, if you want to know more about some topics mentioned, you know whose papers to start with.) I think it's lovely how Dr. Fields talks highly of so many researchers and gives so much credit to people, and shows so much appreciation. (But he does really amazing research as well...check it out!)
I'm only 73% through right now, and I find myself stopping to tell colleagues things, "hey, guess what Doug Fields said in his book...ok, actually I'll just play it for you..." and play little parts of the book for them, and we get excited and it sparks discussion amongst us... that's the upside and downside to listening to this at work while doing a segmentation task where I often listen to audiobooks to keep my sanity intact. (I only say it's a downside because then we get sidetracked and chat about things...)
In addition to this book being information-rich, it's not dense or boring. Dr. Fields' descriptions and imagery add so much color, and the humor thrown in here and there is refreshing.
It's amazing, and worth the listen. I actually plan to listen to this again once I finish, and put little bookmarks along the way during the 2nd listen so I can look into some things further.
I <3 glia
I've seen some other reviews where people say it's a lot of science jargon - and while listening, I considered those reviews in my head. While I think everyone can understand and appreciate this book, if you have not taken at least a college level biology or anatomy/physiology class that covers the nervous system (and still remember it!), it may be worth looking at diagrams/images when Dr. Fields explains many things in the beginning. A quick Google images search should be helpful, and he describes things really well, but if your strong suit isn't visualization of verbal information, then look up a few images early on when he is describing various things and you will be able to appreciate the book more fully.
As Neuroscience and Neurobiology come of age the bias and prejudice of the past few centuries melt away in the light of those exploring the unending mysteries of the brain and mind. A brilliantly told story of leading edge science and intrigue. A must read / listen for the serious student of the brain. The mundane glia cells turn out to be much more than insulation on the neurons. Enjoy
It's worth a listen if you are interested in the role of glia in the brain, but it takes some stomach to get past the overly florid prose. Fields also takes too many overly LONG diversions into historical events such as the search for the cause of kuru and past treatment of mental health disorders. Unfortunately these diversions just seem like filler, and detract from the meat of the information presented.
The light shed on brain fuction and how that relates to disease.
Doug Fields as the author conveyed his passion for the subject. Go back and listen to the introduction again after you have finised the book.
The pioneers in analyzing the brain made amazing progress with crude tools.
Even though the book swerves in and out of sounding like a medical text, it is still understandable by the layman.
Wow, even though I am in the medical field I found this book a tough one. The level at which things are explained are more suited to someone doing an advanced degree in neuropsycology. There should have been some sort of warning...do not attempt this at home....very heavy, very detailed, very in-depth coverage of the brain. This book is not meant for us with "regular" brains, only those who are "brainiacs" should attempt to understand this one. All it really did was confirm that I do not posses enough white matter...or grey....and probably am deficient of some synapses too. Oh well...
Mountain biking, surfing, skiing, literature, philosophy, psychology, theology and my ipod.
Fields knows how to tell scientific stories as human interest stories, with drama and interest like very few others. He knows what is significant, shares that significance from a scientific point of view in personally engaging ways. If you like neuroscience, this book is for you. Rather than thinking of the "other" brain, I now think of both brains, neuronal and glial as one brain, just like the left and right hemisphere are one brain. A success of both science and story-telling.
I absolutely loved this audiobook. If you are looking for a no-nonsense investigation into the roles of glial cells, this is it. Find out what is on the forefront of understanding the other 85-90% of human brain composition.
This is new information about the brain. It is real research but with a new perspective.
The whole book is good.
The magic of the glial cells.
I have returned and started listening again.