By David Bainbridge
In his most recent e-book, David Bainbridge combines an otherworldly trip during the principal worried approach with an obtainable and enjoyable account of the way the brain's anatomy has frequently misled anatomists approximately its functionality. Bainbridge makes use of the constitution of the mind to set his e-book except the various volumes that target mind functionality. He exhibits that for centuries, traditional philosophers were attracted to the grey subject inside of our skulls, yet all they'd to head on used to be its constitution. virtually each knob, protrusion, canal, and crease used to be named earlier than somebody had an inkling of what it did--a form of organic terra incognita with many strange names: the zonules of Zinn, the obex ("the such a lot Scrabble-friendly be aware in all of neuroanatomy"), the aqueduct of Sylvius, the tract of Goll. This uniquely obtainable process lays out what's recognized in regards to the mind (its structure), what we will desire to understand (its function), and what we may perhaps by no means understand (its evolution). alongside the best way Bainbridge tells plenty of incredible tales concerning the "two kilos of blancmange" inside of our skulls, and tells all of them with wit and elegance. (20080101)
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Additional info for Beyond the Zonules of Zinn: A Fantastic Journey Through Your Brain
Surprisingly, this methodical cataloging of the structure and contents of the human genetic instruction manual has much more to do with anatomy than function. Although a remarkable achievement, it has given us an exhaustive list of human genes, most of which have no known role. The similarities to all those centuries of hopeful brain anatomy are obvious. We now have names or at least codes for all (23,000 or so) of these genes, even if we cannot explain what they do. At present many are cataloged because their structure seems similar to genes we already understand, but such assumptions can be dangerous.
The brain is connected to the rest of the body by many thin white cords, and the effect of these cords on the body is to animate it. Bloodsoaked but unbowed, Galen had established that the two ends of the sensation-perception-interpretation-motivation-planning-action arc are rooted in the brain. Also, he cannot have been unaware that the rest of the arc was probably located there too. He spent most of his time treating human patients, and he realized that brain injuries often result in disorientation, confusion, passivity, and unpredictability.
The notochord probably first evolved as a gel-filled tube running the length of our ancient boneless aquatic ancestors. It could not be shortened, but it flexed easily from side to side and thus made an excellent framework to which muscles could attach in our sinuous swimming forebears. Ever since that time, the notochord has been with us, dividing us into left and right halves—showing in which direction we are going. What better structure to organize the development of a nervous system running from head to tail?