101 Theory Drive: A Neuroscientist's Quest for Memory by Terry McDermott

By Terry McDermott

An obsessive scientist and his eclectic group of researchers race to find one of many hidden treasures of neuroscience—the actual make-up of memory—and within the method pursue a pharmaceutical ask yourself drug.
Gary Lynch is the true factor, the epitome of the insurgent scientist: malnourished, contentious, inspiring, explosive, remarkably formidable, and continually fantastic. he's one of many ultimate figures of latest neuroscience, and his decades-long quest to appreciate the internal workings of the brain’s reminiscence desktop has started to pay off.
Award-winning journalist Terry McDermott spent approximately years watching Lynch at paintings and now offers us a desirable and dramatic account of lifestyle in his lab—the highs and lows, the drudgery and eureka moments, the agonizing disasters. He presents precise, lucid reasons of the state of the art technological know-how that enabled Lynch to bare the internal workings of the molecular computing device that manufactures reminiscence. After setting up the construction blocks, Lynch then set his attractions on uncovering the complex constitution of reminiscence because it is kept throughout many neurons. including functional value to his groundbreaking paintings, Lynch came upon a category of gear that may repair the reminiscence computing device while it breaks, medications that will increase mind functionality in the course of the reminiscence strategy and that carry out the opportunity of therapies for quite a lot of neurological stipulations, together with Alzheimer’s illness, Parkinson’s sickness, and a spotlight deficit hyperactivity disease. this is a vital tale of technology, scientists, and clinical achievement—galvanizing within the telling and exciting in its far-reaching implications.

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As we shall see, this debate has created one school of thought that has tried to localize brain function, at one time interpreting the brain by bumps on the head (called phrenology), and, more currently, trying to do the same by finding local functions in the brain, including a so-called “God spot” for religious experience. This attempt at finding a physical spot began famously with the French philosopher René Descartes. He said the soul made contact with the brain in the pineal gland, because, among other things, it was located in the center of the brain.

With phrenology, as with the information being revealed by modern neuroscience, there is a wide variety of possible relationships between science and one’s religious faith. As this survey reveals, the empirical and reductionist approach of phrenology is not as old-fashioned as it seems. The general public is regaled almost daily with dramatic pictures from brain imaging that claim to show separate parts of the brain selectively active for almost every conceivable human activity. Science has indeed begun to show us discreet modules in the brain for each possible mental capacity.

These areas interact with areas doing higher (or more complex) forms of specific sensory processing (often called sensory association areas) and areas providing higher levels of motor processing (called the premotor and supplementary motor cortices). These secondary levels interact, in turn, with the most complex levels of polymodal sensory processing (found in posterior cortex—the inferior temporal cortex and posterior parietal lobe). The motor areas of the cortex are under hierarchical modulatory control from the prefrontal cortex that does the most complex forms of analysis of outcomes versus intentions and long-term behavioral planning.

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