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Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome

Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome
Author: Nancy C. Andreasen
ISBN 13: 9780195167283
ISBN 10: 195167287
Edition: 1
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2004-02-19
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
List Price: $29.95

Nancy Andreasen, a leading neuroscientist who is also Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious American Journal of Psychiatry as well as the winner of the illustrious National Medal of Science, offers here a state-of-the-art look at what we know about the human brain and the human genome—and shows how these two vast branches of knowledge are coming together in a boldly ambitious effort to conquer mental illness.

Scientists today know more about the brain than ever before, thanks to new imaging techniques and to discoveries in neuroscience and molecular biology. Andreasen gives us an engaging and readable description of how it all works, from the billions of neurons to the tiny thalamus to the moral monitor in our prefrontal cortex. She also shows the progress made in mapping the human genome, whose 80,000-100,000 genes are almost all active in the brain. In perhaps the most fascinating section of the book, we read gripping stories of the people who develop mental illness, the friends and relatives who share their suffering, the physicians who treat them, and the scientists who study them so that better treatments can be found. This section covers four major disorders—schizophrenia, manic depression, anxiety disorders, and dementia—revealing what causes them, what happens to the mind and brain, and how the illnesses are treated. Finally, the book shows how the powerful tools of genetics and neuroscience will be combined during the next decades to build healthier brains and minds.

Andreasen's bestselling The Broken Brain broke new ground in the public understanding of mental illness. Now, by revealing how combining genome mapping with brain mapping can unlock the mysteries of mental illness, she again offers general readers a remarkably fresh perspective on these devastating diseases--their nature, treatment, and possible future prevention.

About the Author:
Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., is Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at The University of Iowa College of Medicine. The Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Psychiatry and a member of the task force that developed both the DSM III and DSM IV, she has won numerous awards, has written ten other books and hundreds of articles. Her previous book for general readers, The Broken Brain, was the first to describe the importance of neurobiology to understanding mental illness. She lives in Iowa City and Santa Fe.

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 Cahners Business Information.