What crazy scientists make with brain nowadays

I have received an offer to download one audio book for free from Audible.de. Well, it happens that they have their own audio format, not mp3 and they use DRM. However, it was working with my iPod Shuffle and I have decided to take a bite. In Russian this called “halyava” and I could not resist it. After some search, I have decided for Best of the Brain from Scientific American: Mind, Matter, and Tomorrow’s Brain (editor Floyd E. Bloom). The book comprises 21 papers from Scientific American published since 1999 about brain. I have decided to look what crazy scientists do in this respect, as I actually have no idea what is going on in my brain, not speaking about the question what my mind is.

It happens to be quite a good choice. I have really enjoyed the book. It is especially good for people in the middle life crisis like me. Say in one paper there is a new way  to treat depression, they plant an electrode to some brain area (area 25), put a voltage, and voilà: depression is over. Well, it is not directly applicable to the middle life crisis but it is good to know that anyway.

The collection is divided in three sections

Part I: Mind

  • Ulrich Kraft, Unleashing Creativity
  • Mark S. George, Stimulating the Brain
  • Mark Solms, Freud Returns
  • Carl Zimmer, The Neurobiology of the Self
  • Antonio R. Damasio, How the Brain Creates the Mind
  • Eric R. Kandel, The New Science of Mind

Part II: Matter

  • Nikos K. Logothetis, Vision: A Window on Consciousness
  • James M. Bower and Lawrence M. Parsons, Rethinking the “Lesser Brain”
  • Gregory Hickok, Ursula Bellugi, and Edward S. Klima, Sign Language in the Brain
  • Juergen Andrich and Joerg T. Epplen, Hunting for Answers
  • Fred H. Gage, Brain, Repair Yourself
  • Steven E. Hyman, Diagnosing Disorders
  • Eric J. Nestler and Robert C. Malenka, The Addicted Brain
  • Daniel C. Javitt and Joseph T. Coyle, Decoding Schizophrenia
  • David Dobbs, Turning Off Depression

Part III: Tomorrow’s Brain

  • Steven D. Hollon, Michael E. Thase, and John C. Markowitz, Treating Depression: Pills or Talk
  • Ray Kurzweil, The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine
  • Miguel A. L. Nicolelis and John K. Chapin, Controlling Robots with the Mind
  • Nicola Neumann and Niels Birbaumer, Thinking Out Loud
  • Kwabena Boahen, Neuromorphic Microchips
  • Stephen S. Hall, The Quest for a Smart Pill