Excursions into neuroscience
This book provides basic knowledge about the brain in 35 short chapters.
The most famous of all myths about the brain: It is said that we only use about ten percent of our brain activity. Do we therefore have enormous potential to increase our cognitive performance many times over? Unfortunately not. The French couple Naccache – he is a neuroscientist, she is a writer – clears up this old wives' tale. However, they also offer a small ray of hope: Thanks to its plasticity, the capacity of our brain can be expanded, even if it is not as fantastic as the mythical ten percent suggests.
The 35 short chapters were originally available as a morning podcast on radio station France Inter, after which they were combined into a book. The authors have high standards: after reading the book, when asked whether they understand how the brain works, the reader should answer "Of course!" can answer.
A lofty goal that turns out to be a bit too ambitious despite all the clarity and witty approach to this highly complex topic. The authors impart absolute basic knowledge – combined with some bonus facts. Among other things, readers learn what a glial cell does and that there are an incredible number of neurons that all communicate with one another. But what is a neurotransmitter? The corresponding chapter does not explain this, but reveals how the pharmacologist Otto Loewi dreamed up a groundbreaking, Nobel Prize-winning experiment with neurotransmitters in the 1930s.
Reading the book will give you an idea of the complexity of neuroscience and you will learn some useless but interesting facts. A nice start, but still a long way from really understanding our most mysterious organ.