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Beyond the Zonules of Zinn: A Fantastic Journey Through Your Brainby David Bainbridge
Synopses & Reviews
In his latest book, David Bainbridge combines an otherworldly journey through the central nervous system with an accessible and entertaining account of how the brain's anatomy has often misled anatomists about its function. Bainbridge uses the structure of the brain to set his book apart from the many volumes that focus on brain function. He shows that for hundreds of years, natural philosophers have been interested in the gray matter inside our skulls, but all they had to go on was its structure. Almost every knob, protrusion, canal, and crease was named before anyone had an inkling of what it did, a kind of biological terra incognita with many weird and wonderful names: the zonules of Zinn, the obex ("the most Scrabble-friendly word in all of neuroanatomy"), the aqueduct of Sylvius, the tract of Goll.
This uniquely accessible approach lays out what is known about the brain (its structure), what we can hope to know (its function), and what we may never know (its evolution). Along the way Bainbridge tells lots of wonderful stories about the "two pounds of blancmange" within our skulls, and tells them all with wit and style.
"In this 'geographical tour' of the nervous system, readers will find an entertaining and enlightening history of neuroscience and a look at the anatomy of the brain. A clinical anatomist at Cambridge University, Bainbridge (The X in Sex) has had ample opportunity to examine the brain and ponder its origins and function — as well as the many strange and marvelous names of its parts, labeled long before anyone knew what they did. The Zonules of Zinn — 'a name from an ancient map, from a souk, from another galaxy' — are small fibers attached to the lens of the eye that adjust it for seeing at different distances. Bainbridge discusses the history and function of each name: in addition to hillocks and pyramids are the Almonds (amygdalae), part of the emotional response system, and the locus coeruleus, or 'sky-blue place,' involved in alertness and stress. Your brain even has its own 'Area 51,' thanks to a German neuroanatomist whose system of numbering different regions of the cerebral cortex is still used today. Bainbridge's tour also includes short discussions of nervous system disorders like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. The book's relaxed pace, interesting tangents and broad coverage make this book eminently suitable for anyone curious about the brain. 30 b&w illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
David Bainbridgeis University Clinical Veterinary Anatomist at the <>University of Cambridgeand a Fellow of St. Catharine's College.
Table of Contents
I. A Grand Tour of Terra Incognita The spinal cord
II. An Assault on the Senses The brain stem
III. Where All the Mind May Be Found? The cortex
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