In the last ten years, we have learned more about neuroscience than in all of recorded history, writes Alan Leshner in the Foreword of the new Cerebrum: Emerging Ideas in Brain Science 2015, an anthology that became available in paperback this week. Leshner, chief executive officer, emeritus, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former executive publisher of the journal Science, comes to that conclusion based on his 40 years in the neuroscience field.
The anthology consists of articles and book reviews featured each month during 2015 on the web. As the editor of Cerebrum, the online research-based journal published by the Dana Foundation, I’m confident that this year’s stories are examples of that kind of progress. Our goal is to take complex research and explain its importance in simple and understandable language to anyone interested in the brain.
From genetics and imaging to neurochemicals and proteins, the book’s 12 articles cover new knowledge on schizophrenia, binge-eating disorder, how storytelling affects the brain, the risks of cannabis use, cognitive versus behavioral therapy, and the aging brain. This year’s anthology also includes two formidable neuroscientists recounting the remarkable life of Vernon Mountcastle—often referred to as the Father of Neuroscience. Among other topics are the controversial issue of study replication, the growing abuse of prescription narcotics, and a new movement called Purpose-Driven Life.
Cerebrum also features prominent neuroscientists examining the scientific viability of books such as Neal Barnard’s Power Foods for the Brain (Can a plant-based diet help stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?); Leon N. Cooper’s Science and Human Experience: Values, Culture, and the Mind (Can we understand consciousness?); Michael S. Gazzaniga’s Tales from Both Sides of the Brain (How do two sides of the brain come together to create one mind?); and Frances E. Jensen’s The Teenage Brain. (Why are the moods and behaviors of teenagers so unpredictable and sometimes incomprehensible?)
I’m honored that scientists—some who direct research laboratories making groundbreaking discoveries—are willing to present their research and views on matters that capture the harmony as well as the discord in the complex and evolving relationship between neuroscience and society. Selecting topics to cover from a seemingly limitless list is never easy; a seven-person advisory board of neuroscientists from the U.S. and abroad reviews studies and suggests articles and authors.
Besides the advantage of offering readers all of our content in a single setting, the anthology also offers the aforementioned foreword. The cover—a captivating illustration by William Hogan—contains a grid that references something that appeared in one or more of the year’s articles. A key on the inside reveals all the connections.
The softcover book is now available on Amazon.