Drawing on his considerable experience as a neuroscientist and clinical neurologist, Ira Black systematically disentangles the labyrinth of brain and mind in a new concept of mind that relates environment, brain genes, molecular symbols, behavior and mentation. He describes the unity of brain, mind, and experience with singular clarity, showing how mental function, brain function, and biologic information are now comprehensible in molecular terms.Writing in a clear and often conversational style, Black defines the molecular biology and biochemistry of information processing in the nervous system and describes in detail the environmental regulation of brain genes that encode molecular symbols. His coherent vision of the vast biological information system provides insight into questions of how the mind is related to the brain, what constitutes the substance of thought or the physical bases of memory, how experience changes mind function or environmental information is converted into neural language, and what biochemical abnormalities lead to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and schizophrenia.Information in the Brain identifies common concepts and themes in widely diverse fields, revealing the extraordinary scope of modern neuroscience, and makes central issues in the brain sciences accessible to a variety of readers.
Black's description of the critical role that gene structure plays in ongoing brain and mind function will appeal to molecular biologists. Protein chemists will understand how molecular structure is translated into behavior and mentation. Neuroscientists will gain an explicit understanding of the central questions in psychology. In turn, psychologists will find new ideas concerning cellular and molecular bases of brain function and clinical neurologists and psychiatrists will discover new formulations of the pathogenesis of disease at genomic, molecular, and systems levels.Ira B. Black is Professor and Chairman, Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/UMDNJ.