Building Brains: An Introduction to Neural Development
John Wiley & Sons, Jul 22, 2011 - Medical - 348 pages
The development of a brain from its simple beginnings in the embryo to the extraordinarily complex fully-functional adult structure is a truly remarkable process. Understanding how it occurs remains a formidable challenge despite enormous advances over the last century and current intense world-wide scientific research. A greater knowledge of how nervous systems construct themselves will bring huge benefits for human health and future technologies. Unravelling the mechanisms that lead to the development of healthy brains should help scientists tackle currently incurable diseases of the nervous system such as autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia (to name but a few), discover more about the processes that cause the uncontrolled growth associated with cancer and develop possible treatments.
Building Brains provides a highly visual and readily accessible introduction to the main events that occur during neural development and the mechanisms by which they occur. Aimed at undergraduate students and postgraduates new to the field, who may not have a background in neuroscience and/or molecular genetics, it explains how cells in the early embryo first become neural, how their proliferation is controlled, what regulates the types of neural cells they become, how neurons connect to each other, how these connections are later refined under the influence of neural activity including that arising from experience, and why some neurons normally die.