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Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome Paperback – February 19, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0195167283 ISBN-10: 0195167287 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

After centuries of outsiders carping about scientific reductionism, the promised synthesis is finally on its way. Immunology, genetics, medicine, neurology, and other fields are starting to overlap more and more, and prominent neuropsychiatrist Nancy C. Andreasen explores one exciting intersection in Brave New Brain. The author's broad understanding and straightforward writing offer readers a penetrating glimpse into new and future treatments for mental illness. Focusing on four devastating maladies (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and dementia), she shows what scientists have learned about them recently thanks to powerful imaging and biochemical tools. This knowledge, growing exponentially and integrated with data from diverse scientific research including the Human Genome Project, is used to propose mechanisms underlying diseases and potential cures--from genetic repair to bold new pharmacologic interventions.

Well-illustrated and lucidly explained, the book is an excellent lay primer on the brain and its disorders. Though Andreasen's prose isn't as elegant as some of her colleagues', it is clear and always to the point; many readers will appreciate the lack of distraction from the book's content. The hope she holds out to sufferers of mental illness, if not immediately promising, is certainly brighter than has been offered in recent years. Despite its moderately sinister title, Brave New Brain is an enlightening and even uplifting look at the convergence of several important scientific disciplines. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Andreasen, a prolific author, editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, and chair of psychiatry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, argues that by combining our knowledge of the human genome with that of the human brain we can effectively "wage war" on mental illness. She summarizes what we know about the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of schizophrenia, dementia, and various mood and anxiety disorders. Stressing that these illnesses are multifactorial (caused by both multiple genes and environmental factors), she predicts that the powerful new tools of molecular biology can be successfully applied to mental illness. Like Rita Carter in Mapping the Mind (LJ 2/15/99), which summarizes the current state of medical technology, Andreasen describes those tools along with the neuroimaging techniques that help us to view the functioning brain. Her text is unique in that it covers the fundamentals of neurobiology and at the same time touches on key issues in medical economics, treatment, and prevention. Hypothetical case studies illustrate the progression and impact of mental illness. Written with clarity and sensitivity, this study offers a refreshing, optimistic vision of the future. Suitable for public and academic libraries. Laurie Bartolini, Illinois State Lib., Springfield
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 19, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195167287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195167283
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John Sollami on November 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Having experienced schizophrenia firsthand in my immediate family beginning in the 1950s, I was interested in seeing what medical explanations are being explored and what progress has been made regarding this devastating illness. This book beautifully presents necessary background data on brain function and on basic chemistry and genetics, and then gives lucidly presented information about new strategies and treatments. Various fields of medicine, genetics, and chemistry are coming together to present the real albeit complex picture of what these awful illnesses are about and how we can work to live with them or overcome them. Mental illness must be liberated from individual guilt, shame, and social stigma, which are still very strong in human society. Only knowledge of the facts can free us from these crippling attitudes, and this terrific book goes a long way to help. The author's PhD in literature also adds a humanistic touch to a scientific work, which I deeply appreciated.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
BRAVE NEW BRAIN follows up the classic THE BROKEN BRAIN, both written by Dr. Nancy Andreasen. She is a recent winner of the National Medal of Science, and a great thinker in the fields of medicine and philosophy of medicine. The book is written for the general public so they will become part of the great revolution of knowledge in the neurosciences. She details not only traditional psychiatric illnesses, but expands this view into the neurological illnesses. This is important as now psychiatry and neurology begin to merge, each developing a new respect for the field of the other. She details how psychiatry cannot solve all of our modern day society's woes, but must turn these over to individuals to seek answers. A recommended book for any public or private library.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Sollami on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Having experienced schizophrenia firsthand in my immediate family beginning in the 1950s, I was interested in seeing what medical explanations are being explored and what progress has been made regarding this devastating illness. This book beautifully presents necessary background data on brain function and on basic chemistry and genetics, and then gives lucidly presented information about new strategies and treatments. Various fields of medicine, genetics, and chemistry are coming together to present the real albeit complex picture of what these awful illnesses are about and how we can work to live with them or overcome them. Mental illness must be liberated from individual guilt, shame, and social stigma, which are still very strong in human society. Only knowledge of the facts can free us from these crippling attitudes, and this terrific book goes a long way to help. The author's PhD in literature also adds a humanistic touch to a scientific work, which I deeply appreciated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Betty M. Williams on March 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nancy Andreasen took mental illness out off the couch and placed it in the hands of scientists, medical experts, and psycho-pharmacologists. Freudian theories set back research on the brain and it should have been called fraudian therapy.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Chiko on February 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Nancy Andreasen is one of the top researchers in the field of Schizophrenia so is a good person to write this book. This is a very good book on the underlying causes of schizophrenia and other brain diseases and prospects better treatments and cures based on this knowledge. Great reading for a person who wants a better understanding of how the genetics revolution is impacting our knowledge of mental illness. Writen for a layman with some background or interest in science and biology.
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