- Progress in Brain Research, Vol. I: Brain Mechanisms Edited by Giuseppe Moruzzi, Alfred Fessard, and Herbert H. Jasper (review)
- Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 8, Number 1, Autumn 1964
- pp. 136-137
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- Additional Information
microscopy, microradiography, autoradiography ofbone-seeking radioisotopes, and the localization in bone of certain fluorescent compounds. (However, even though I have taken a rather active interest in radiation, isotopes, bone, abstract art, and symbolic logic, the illustration on the dustcover escapes my interpretation: it is a view from above ofa decapitated skeleton, the right shoulder joint ofwhich harbors a cluster of 13 giant-sized leadshots.) To summarize, then, the authors have been remarkably successful in their attempt to present a readable account ofa number ofsubjects related to radiation, isotopes, and bone and at the same time provide a clue to the specialized literature on these subjects. Goran C. H. Bauer, M.D. The Hospitalfor Special Surgery New York, New York Progress in Brain Research, Vol. I: Brain Mechanisms. Edited by Giuseppe Moruzzi, Alfred Fessard, and Herbert H.Jasper. New York: Elsevier, 1963. Pp. 493. $25.00. Psychology badly needs aparallel scientific discipline with which it can play conceptual leapfrog. Such symbiotic relationship undoubtedly contributes to the cognitive thrust of modern chemistry and physics, and quite probably to some areas in biology. The hypothetico -deductive stratagem of inquiry exposes relationships both within and across such disciplines. The generic syllogism takes the form: Given N facts of Discipline A, what follows in particular for Discipline B, or vice versa? The appearance ofBrain Mechanisms as Volume I in Elsevier's series called Progress in Brain Research provides an occasion for cognitive leapfrog with a behavioral discipline. An international colloquium sponsored by the International Brain Research Organization was held in Pisa in the summer of 1961. The general topic was "Specific and Unspecific Mechanisms of Sensory-Motor Integration." The meeting brought together a distinguished group of contributors, including F. Bremer of Belgium, to whom the present volume is dedicated;J. C. Eccles ofAustralia; R. Granit ofSweden; R. Jung of Germany; and J. M. Brookhart, J. L. O'Leary, and M. A. B. Brazier of the United States representing neurophysiology. The book has been carefully edited as to content and style by the triumvirate of Moruzzi (Italy), Fessard (France), andJasper (Canada). The meat is to be found in its nineteen chapters arranged in a somewhat ascending order from the spinal cord to the cerebral cortex. Eccles presents an authoritative discussion ofpostsynaptic and presynaptic inhibitory actions in the spinal cord. J. L. O'Leary covers the matter of direct current potentials as they arise in the pyramid, in muscle, and in the cortex. Current concepts of sleep mechanisms occupy one section as organized byJ. M. Brookhart. Reference citation tends to be generous throughout. Both author and subject indexes are provided. But especially enriching for the reader are the rather full discussions which accompany the topical contributions. Any student ofthe central nervous system will welcome the knowl136 Book Reviews Perspectives in Biology and Mediente · Autumn 1964 edgeable discussion ofinhibition with which the volume closes. The publishers as well as the contributors merit our thanks for underwriting and producing a workmanlike job. In view ofthe many illustrations, quality ofpaper, binding, etc., the price ofthis volume may be realistic, but it is priced beyond the reach ofmost students entering the field. Apparently this aspect of central inhibition, if considered, was edited out of the closing chapter. But could this be a serendipity? Thereader will gain the impression that some progress has been made over the years in neurophysiology, especially in the quality and range ofinstrumentation. Smaller electric currents can today be measured more accurately and more conveniently than in the day of Sherrington. Some recurrent electrical events can now be detected by in-line computer averaging techniques, but even here the direct correlations with behavior remain obscure. The craft ofneurophysiologyhas indeed made progress. But thethoughtfulreader cannot help wondering about the essentially non-quantitative communications ofthis supposedly scientific discipline. The problem ofvariation tends to be ignored both as to statistical and conceptual restraints. Since the neuronal brain is a primary source ofelectricity, both at rest and under stimulation, it has commanded direct attention. But what ofthe glial brain, the biochemical brain, and the intimately associated vascular brain? Somewhere among these structural domains ofthe nervous system arises a principle ofenergy transformation that, triggered by a few quanta ofradiant energy, makes possible the...