Summer Reading List: Brain Books

Last year I wrote a summer reading list blog, highlighting brain books recently published by members of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. Since then, our members have published a number of new books on topics ranging from addiction to free will to neurogastronomy. When you get around to finishing the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (it’s everywhere!), here are some great books to keep in mind (descriptions are taken directly from the publishers’ websites).

The Addicted Brain: Why We Abuse Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine, by Michael Kuhar, FT Science Press.
“Addiction destroys lives. In The Addicted Brain, a leading neuroscientist explains how and why this happens–and presents advances in treatment and prevention. Using breathtaking brain imagery and other research, Michael Kuhar, Ph.D., shows the powerful, long-term brain changes that drugs can cause, revealing why it can be so difficult for addicts to escape their grip.”

The Age of Insight, by Eric R. Kandel, Random House, Inc.
“A brilliant book by Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel, The Age of Insight takes us to Vienna 1900, where leaders in science, medicine, and art began a revolution that changed forever how we think about the human mind—our conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions—and how mind and brain relate to art.”

The Biology of Alzheimer Disease, edited by DABI members Dennis J. Selkoe, M.D., David M. Holtzman, M.D., and Eckhard Mandelkow, Ph.D., Cold Spring Harbor Press.
“Written and edited by leading experts in the field, this volume includes contributions covering all aspects of Alzheimer disease, from our current molecular understanding to therapeutic agents that could be used to treat and, ultimately, prevent it.”

Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters, by Gordon M. Shepherd, M.D., D.Phil, Columbia University Press.
“Leading neuroscientist Gordon M. Shepherd embarks on a paradigm-shifting trip through the “human brain flavor system,” laying the foundations for a new scientific field: neurogastronomy. Challenging the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution, Shepherd argues that this sense, which constitutes the main component of flavor, is far more powerful and essential than previously believed.”

For more information, my colleague wrote a blog about the book earlier this year.

Psychology’s Ghosts, by Jerome Kagan, Yale Press. Wsj blanchard image
“Jerome Kagan, a theorist and leading researcher, examines popular practices and assumptions held by many psychologists. He uncovers a variety of problems that, troublingly, are largely ignored by investigators and clinicians. Yet solutions are available, Kagan maintains, and his reasoned suggestions point the way to a better understanding of the mind and mental illness.”

Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain, by Michael Gazzaniga, Ecco.
The father of cognitive neuroscience and author of Human offers a provocative argument against the common belief that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes and we are therefore not responsible for our actions.”

Happy reading!

–Ann L. Whitman

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