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Hardcover | $60.00 Short | £41.95 | ISBN: 9780262194563 | 322 pp. | 8 x 9 in | 154 illus., 15 color| September 2001

The Intact and Sliced Brain


In this book Mircea Steriade cautions against the tendency of some neuroscientists to infer global brain functions such as arousal and sleep, epileptic events, and even conscious thinking from the properties of single cells. Based on his lifetime of research on intact brains, Steriade emphasizes the need to understand isolated networks within the context of the whole mammalian brain and to understand the brain of a behaving animal in terms of its fully dissected circuits. As much as knowledge of brain anatomy and function has progressed, Steriade is highly skeptical about the quest to relate consciousness to specific neuronal types.

The book's sections are "Changing Concepts of Localization of Brain Function," "Evolution of Methods in Brain Studies," "Similar and Contrasting Results from Studies in the Intact and Sliced Brain," "Building Blocks of Synaptic Networks Underlying Normal and Paroxysmal States," and "Of Neurons and Consciousness."

About the Author

Mircea Steriade is Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Quebec City.


"Far in the frozen north of Quebec City there lives and works a master neurophysiologist, Mircea Steriade. This skilled experimentalist has now brought together in this monograph the results of his intensive studies, made over several decades, of the thalamocortical mechanisms controlling the excitability of the forebrain, a summary that is a major gift to all neuroscientists interested in the dynamic function of the forebrain. The evidence adduced by Steriade is taken almost exclusively from his own work, made with a variety of methods, in experiments always aimed at explaining the dynamic function of thalamus and cortex, and their interaction. The general subject of the relation between the two has been brought to a new level by Steriade's own investigations. "The book is unusual in a second way. Almost every page contains a sidebar on which the references are given, and in addition Steriade's insightful comments on the studies referred to, the scientists involved, and the historical and epistemological background of the work discussed. It is like two monographs in one! "This book belongs on the shelf of every Neuroscientist interested in the dynamic function of the cerebral cortex, and its regulation by thalamocortical mechanisms."--Vernon B. Mountcastle, University Professor Emeritus, Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins UniversityPlease note: Endorser gives permission to excerpt from quote.