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The Synaptic Organization of the Brain Paperback – November 13, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0195118247 ISBN-10: 0195118243 Edition: 4th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 4 edition (November 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195118243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195118247
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,971,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

" ... a compact monograph that makes a real and insightful effort to integrate information from synaptic neurophysiology with that from the areas of neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology and molecular neurobiology. ... The book provides excellent reviews of fundamental concepts and current hypotheses on the synaptic organization of the brain ... a good book on a difficult subject... a necessary complement to the library of any neurosciences-oriented institution. ... I recommend it to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows trying to grasp the development of a very important area of central nervous system research. ... it is sufficiently detailed and integrative to be useful to neuroscientists and anyone interested in the field of neuronal connectivity and function. This is a helpful book and I recommend it. " Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience (1998)

Praise for previous editions:

"The book remains a staple, and should be on the shelf of any serious neuroscientist."--The Quarterly Review of Biology

"An excellent introduction into the principles of synaptic organization of various brain regions."--Neuroscience

"By any measure this work is a classic...It will undoubtedly take its place as one of the most significant and comprehensive commentaries of our time on structure and function of nervous tissue."--Journal of Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology

"A valuable addition to the library of individuals who call themselves neuroscientists; it is a good general reference that provides a basic understanding of the neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry that underlie the organization of neurons and synapses into functional circuits. This text also would provide a good introduction to further study of any of the specific regions of the nervous system."--Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association

"By any measure this work is a classic...It will undoubtedly take its place as one of the most significant and comprehensive commentaries of our time on the structure and function of nervous tissue."--Journal of Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology

"...this book is a coherent and lucid account on the physiological significance of brain connectivity and represents a necessary complement to the library of any neurosciences-oriented institution."--Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience

'This is the fourth edition of a reference textbook that has served generations of neuroscientists at all levels of thier career for a quarter century. It is like a wise and trusted mentor, who is always ther for you...And certaintly, any college or university instructor who teaches neurobiology ought to read this book, for it provides a depth of knowledge and perspective that cannot be gained from a (bad) strategy of knowing the course textbook cold and staying a few chapters ahead of one's students.--ordon M. Shepherd, Contempory Psychology.

'This is the fourth edition of a reference textbook that has served generations of neuroscientists at all levels of their career for a quarter century. It is like a wise and trusted mentor, who is always there for you...And certaintly, any college or university instructor who teaches neurobiology ought to read this book, for it provides a depth of knowledge and perspective that cannot be gained from a (bad) strategy of knowing the course textbook cold and staying a few chapters ahead of one's students.--ordon M. Shepherd, Contempory Psychology.

About the Author


About the editor
Gordon M. Shepherd, M.D., D. Phil., is Professor of Neuroscience at Yale University School of Medicine. His other books include Neurobiology (3rd ed., 1994) and Foundations of the Neuron Doctrine (1991).

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Michael Vanier on September 24, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is arguably the most fundamental and important book in the entire field of neuroscience. It's not easy reading; an unbelievable amount of information is packed into its 500-odd pages. It's also definitely NOT suitable for newcomers to the field; for them I recommend "Principles of Neural Science", Shepherd's "Neurobiology" and Johnston and Wu's "Foundations of Cellular Neurophysiology". But once you know something about the brain, you'll want to read this book very carefully to really understand the current state-of-the-art of our understanding of neural circuits. Most major brain systems are covered, and the authors are all recognized experts in their fields. People who build computer simulations of the brain (like me) will find this book to be a gold mine of useful information, and the references are a great starting point for further investigations. This is the fourth edition of this text, and it just keeps getting better and better.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DR P. Dash on November 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I became acquainted with this book when I read the first edition, way back in the late 70s when I was a neuroscience grad student. I remember how impressed I was that here, for the first time really, different areas of the brain could be analyzed and compared by how the neurons wired up with each other. Later in life as a young neurologist I read through the 3rd edition, and now as a more seasoned one I've just finished reading the fifth. The book has maintained its basic organizational structure while greatly expanding its content, sometimes to the detriment of clarity being lost in the details, which is why I took off a star. The first two chapters are very helpful, with one of the best discussions of different ion channels and neurotransmitter receptors in the context of neural cell physiology I've seen. In subsequent chapters the basic circuitry of the spinal cord, cochlear nucleus, olfactory bulb, retina, cerebellum, thalamus, basal ganglia, olfactory cortex, hippocampus and cerebral cortex are discussed in similar fashion. First the neuronal elements--cell types--are defined, then the basic anatomy of the area, then the synaptic connections between different types of neurons, then the anatomy of the circuitry, then the physiology of the synaptic actions. Finally an attempt is made to relate all of these basics to how the brain area functions for the organism.

As others have pointed out, the book requires concentration to read, even to somebody with my long background. But it is rewarding to see how far the field has come in the nearly 30 years I've been studying it. It's only marginally clinically relevant for a neurologist, but for basic neuroscientists I'd consider it a must read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Serendipitous Journey on March 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book: clear, well-organized, and well-written. It examines how groups of neurons give rise to brain functions. The introductory chapter lays the groundwork, going over basic theories of how groups of cells perform computations and what mechanisms they use to do it. Subsequent chapters stand alone, each with a focus on a particular brain region (hippocampus, basal ganglia, cortex, thalamus, retina, etc.).
I agree with an earlier reviewer: this book is not for the uninitiated, although it is spectacularly helpful for theoretical neuroscientists who are modeling cell assemblies as well as experimentalists working at the cell or systems level. However, I disagree with his list of good introductory books. "Principles of Neural Science" in particular is a good reference but not terribly readable. I would recommend Nicholls' "From Neuron to Brain" as a more accessible book about brain function. The Scientific American series, including "The Scientific American Book of the Brain," is quite good factually and provides a more general overview including some psychology, but the quality of the writing varies. Finally, for kicks, a newcomer should try the enjoyable, controversial "How the Mind Works" by Stephen Pinker. He is biased and arrogant, but also clever and entertaining.
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The book is excellent, is basic for neurology, neurobiologist and senior. I belived is a classic text.
Dr. Gerardo Ramírez Samayoa
Neurologist
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I am preparing the notes for my lectures and this book contains valuable material.
From this book I have learned that synapsis should be considered as a very important aspect in teh design of modern brains.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miguel Camarena Sainz on July 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What I like about this book is its attempt to try to systematize the common patterns of synaptic connectivity within the nervous system. My interest in this work began from studying Carver Mead's "Analog VLSI and Neural System" and its endless references.

Don't expect the general theory of all neuroscience. However that should not dissuade you from diving deep into this work. I've only read the first chapter but it was beautiful to see Shepherd's comparison of olfactory and retinal systems and finding the common themes.

Definitely a superb source for engineers that seek neural inspiration for their grand ideas on sensing , processing, and understanding. Learn from nature and go beyond it!
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