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Other titles in the Lezioni Lincee series:
Neural Activity & the Growth of the Brainby Dale Purves
Synopses & Reviews
Understanding the role of neural activity in the development of the brain has been a major concern of many modern neurobiologists. The reason is plain enough: since the world influences the brain by means of action potentials and synaptic potentials, activity must be the chief cause of the neural changes wrought by experience. This 1994 volume explores the hypothesis that neural activity generated by experience modulates the ongoing growth of the brain during maturation, thus sculpting in each of us a unique nervous system according to the events of our early life. Brain growth is considered at a macroscopic level by examining brain maps and their modular substructure, and at a cellular level by investigating the neuronal interactions that influence the formation and maintenance of these structures. The ways that experience influences the maturation of the brain at both macroscopic and microscopic levels are described, and the conventional wisdom is re-examined.
This 1994 volume explores the hypothesis that neural activity generated by experience modulates the ongoing growth of the brain during maturation, thus sculpting in each of us a unique nervous system according to the events of our early life.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -106) and index.
Table of Contents
Preface; Introduction; Part I. Lecture I: Maps: 1. Brain growth and its potential significance; 2. A contrary view of brain development; 3. Brain maps; 4. Measurement of maps in the developing brain; 5. Conclusion; Part II. Lecture II: Modules: 6. Discovery and definition; 7. The significance of modularity; 8. The development of modular circuitry; 9. Conclusion; Part III. Lecture III: Trophic Interactions: 10. Qualitative and quantitative accuracy of neural connections; 11. Getting the numbers right; 12. The importance of target cell geometry in quantitative accuracy; 13. Does setting the value of convergence involve synapse elimination?; 14. A basis for the interactions that determine convergence; 15. The nature of trophic signals; 16. Conclusion; Part IV. Lecture IV: Activity: 17. How neural activity might lead to information storage; 18. The effects of activity in the developing visual system; 19. An alternative interpretation of the effects of visual deprivation; 20. Some pertinent observations in the peripheral nervous system; 21. Neural activity and the growth of the brain; 22. Some caveats; 23. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
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