Neurobiology

Neurobiology

Journal of the NeurologicalSciences, 1989, 90:247-249 247 Elsevier Book reviews Neurobiology, 2nd edn., by Gordon M. Shepherd, 1988, O x f o r ...

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Journal of the NeurologicalSciences, 1989, 90:247-249

247

Elsevier

Book reviews

Neurobiology,

2nd edn., by Gordon

M. Shepherd,

1988, O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ,

O x f o r d , £ 1 9 . 5 0 , I S B N 0 19 5 0 5 1 7 2 6. Shepherd's "Neurobiology", now in its second edition, is already a classic. The book is used all over the world and serves as an introductory text to the field. New and modem techniques are described in the first chapters (e.g., patch clamping and recombinant DNA techniques) to bring the book up to date, while the scientists co-operating with the author warrant a high standard of the descriptions and solutions presented. Several parts give excellent examples of functional neuroanatomy, and the incorporation of invertebrate examples increases the biological scope of the book. A minor reservation can be made about the unattractive treatment of neuroanatomy and the incidental use of old-fashioned terminology, even though the author states in the preface that the demands of the book had to be balanced with the ongoing research in his laboratory. One misses the fact that the rubrospinal tract, although strongly developed in the cat, is absent in man. The evolutionary scheme of the pyramidal tract is too simple, whereas the ventro- and dorsospinocerebellar tracts have not been distinguished at all. In the eye of an anatomist, another serious omission is the absence of the longitudinal zone concept in the part dealing with the cerebellum. This concept has led to the subdivision of the cerebellum into longitudinal modules as proven by neuroanatomicai and neurophysiological techniques. In conclusion, this is an excellent textbook, with attractive examples that demonstrate its important hypotheses. People buying this book will enrich their personal library with an extensive neurobiological document. E. MARANI

Etiology of Dementia of Alzheimer's Type, b y

A.S. Henderson

and J.H.

Henderson

(eds.), Life Sci. R e s . R e p . 43, J o h n W i l e y & S o n s , N e w Y o r k , 1988. The objective of the Dahlem conferences is to define and discuss priorities in a research area and to indicate directions for further research. The contributors (48) are selected as experts from a number of different disciplines relevant to the main topic in this case, Alzheimer's disease. The first part of the book consists of current reviews on brain ageing, neuropathology and risk factors in Alzheimer's disease. These articles fit in very well with the overall aim of the meetings, for the authors provide not only an introductory paper but also oilen speculate on future problems. The remaining and major part of the book contains reports of the working parties. The first deals with risk factors, both genetic and environmental (aluminium, smoking, trauma). This section includes, thoughtful reviews, with references, on animal models, clinical manifestations of disease and its relationship to neuropathology. The second group report on expression and symptomatology of dementia contains lists of questions and problems for future research. The current debate on the molecular pathology of amyloid and tangle deposition, the nature of protein abnormalities and metabolic factors in neuronal degeneration are supporting background papers. The third group dealt with the molecular biology and genetic basis of cell injury. Much of this session related to the possible mechanisms resulting in deposition of intra- and extracellular amyloid. Hypothetical events leading to cell dysfunction and death were discussed with a number of recommendations for future work. This session was supported by papers on adaptation in ageing and dementia and the neuropathologlcal and neurochemicai distinctions between age related change and disease. The final short report was on the relationship of normal ageing and dementia in late life. The special value of this book is in those group reports which list fundamental questions and attempt to summarise the views of theparticipants. Although some rapporteurs have been less successful than