The Custom-Made Brain: Cerebral Plasticity, Regeneration, and Enhancement

Jean-Didier Vincent and Pierre-Marie Lledo. Columbia Univ, $29.50 (224p) ISBN 978-0-231-16450-4
Neuroscientists Vincent and Lledo challenge the popular idea that the human brain is a static organ and demonstrate its flexibility and capacity for growth and change in this sometimes entertaining, but often tedious study of brain science. The pair provide an informative overview of the evolutionary growth of the brain as well as a detailed description of each region of the brain and its function. Drawing on theirs and others’ research, the authors then examine the critical ways that the brain begins to degenerate due to age or other pathologies and explore many of the methods that brain scientists are using to enhance and plasticity of the brain. For example, brain-machine interface technology establishes a relationship between “human thought and machine function, whether a computer or a robot,” and allows for entertaining the possibility of a future where humans can move or communicate merely by thought. Vincent and Lledo point to ethical questions philosophers raise regarding brain enhancements: if we seek to enhance the brain directly and make it work better than normal, are we “meddling with man as a human being?” In spite of such questions, the authors enthusiastically embrace the possibilities inherent in brain enhancement and promote it as a path toward human happiness. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/14/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 200 pages - 978-0-231-53421-5
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