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Understanding Pain: Exploring the Perception of Pain Hardcover – August 17, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0262018043 ISBN-10: 0262018047 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; 1 edition (August 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262018047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262018043
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #931,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Fernando Cervero's unique ability to provide an understanding of the complex experience of pain will be appreciated by everyone. He integrates historical perspectives with useful anecdotes that contribute to understanding pain relative to personal experience. Noteworthy is his immensely readable chapter on pain hypersensitivity, which explains complex molecular and cellular changes leading to abnormal painful experiences that result in maladaptable behavior. Cervero correctly emphasizes that pain after injury is 'unnecessary and avoidable' and not merely a symptom, but a disease in itself, and must be treated.

(Ronald Dubner, Department of Neural and Pain Sciences, University of Maryland School of Dentistry)

Fernando Cervero has written an up-to-date introduction to the science of pain. His language is concise and his coverage of topics is broad and placed in historical perspective. Non-specialists will find in this book a readable, accessible and informative entry to the major questions and key discoveries that have broadened our understanding of pain.

(Howard Fields, Professor of Neurology; Director, Wheeler Center for the Neurobiology of Addiction, University of California, San Francisco)

In a straightforward but nevertheless fascinating way, Fernando Cervero, an excellent pain researcher and a superb writer, unravels the many well known facts as well as the just as numerous mysteries of pain. In comparison to our classical five senses, pain is a very different one indeed. Although it shares quite a number of features with those of the other sensory modalities, it has even more features which have no counterpart.

(Robert F. Schmidt, University of Würzburg)

In Understanding Pain, Fernando Cervero... gives a remarkably lively tour of what we do know... Cervero provides a rich and historical backdrop, and layers his explanations with colourful metaphors and relatable examples.

(Samantha Murphy New Scientist)

This is an enjoyable and thought-provoking work, written in an accessible style that will be welcomed by those who are interested in the discipline of pain and have some background knowledge in neuroscience.

(Gila Moalem-Taylor Times Higher Education)

All throughout Understanding Pain Fernando Cervero illustrates the biological enigma that is pain through the use of carefully chosen anecdotes, and patients' descriptions of their symptoms. The book provides a comprehensive and accessible review of the neurobiological basis of pain perception, and will be of interest to both pain researchers and the reader with a general interest in pain.

(Jonathon Brooks Perception)

About the Author

Fernando Cervero, President of the International Association for the Study of Pain, is Professor of Anesthesia at McGill University, where he is the Director of the Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. Bourassa on March 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Understanding Pain by Fernando Cervero

In this slim book of about 165 pages the author, who is an expert in area of pain, does a masterful job of covering the early work on pain by the great scientists such as Sherrington, Mitchell and many others. And he covers, though in less detail, very current work on the causes and possible alleviation of pain.
There are some minor problems with the book. For one thing, there is a problem with the level of the writing. The author is usually clear, but there are a few occusions on which a background in neurophysiology would be useful. For example, he mentions A-delta fibers and c-fibers but doesn't explain what the the terms mean, nor provide any other information about the classification of nerve fibers. He does say they are slow conducting but gives no numbers or even comparisons with the speed in larger fibers.
Another problem is that there are no pictures or diagrams in the book. So when the author mentions von Frey Hairs it is likely that many readers won't know what they look like or be able to imagine how they are used. A diagram would be useful. Likewise, it would be nice to see a picture of the sense organs that he talks about. Or diagrams of the nervous system so that when the author talks about the effects of severing the 'anterior-lateral spinal cord' or the function of the 'anterior insular and anterior cingulate cortex' we might have some idea of where these things are.
The most serious problem with the book is that there are no references. This is a major drewback because when the author discribes current work, he often doesn't name the investigators and that makes it difficult to look up the experiments. Experiments that some readers might be vitally interested in.
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By Marie Butson on April 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dr. Cervero offers the reader a concise and interesting short volume on pain, and how it is mediated by our environment. life experience and perspectives. Not a long book, it’s a handy volume that would be well read not only after some acute pain (say braking an ankle) and chronic pain (when your ankle keeps hurting despite the fact your bones are all healed, and your dr says it shouldn’t be bothering you anymore. . )
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By principiante on January 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
it is clear, simple and practical book, for all persons who like to know about the pain. it is necessary to begins to understand the pain .
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