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The 1990s has been referred to as "the decade of the brain," as scholars and scientists in fields from philosophy to molecular neurobiology focus their energies on understanding humankind's ultimate inner frontier.

Since Hippocrates proposed the mind was in the brain and not the heart in the 4th century BC and Thomas Willis did work on the anatomy of the brain in the 17th century, there has not been as much work on understanding the brain as there has on other parts of the human anatomy.

A look at the research of Nobel Prize winners gives us some clue as to what Neuroscience is about. The discoveries include:

  • How signals are transmitted in the brain and how this process can be enhanced or disrupted. (e.g. biochemistry of brain function).
  • The effect of drugs on brain processes.
  • How the senses (sight, smell, sound, ...) work.
  • Causes of brain diseases.
  • How learning and memory work.
In addition to causes and treatments for things like mental illness, Autism, and Alzheimer's there are other applications. e.g.:
  • Neuroanatomy - Parts of the brain and nervous system
  • Neurophysiology / cellular neuroscience - cellular structure, nuclear signaling, G-Proteins, ...
  • Synaptic transmission - electrical-chemical process
  • Somatosensory - Tactile (touch), Vision, Audition (hearing), Olfaction (smell), Taste and other sensory nerves.
  • Motor System
  • Cognitive neuroscience
    • Language
    • Learning (both declarative learning and motor learning)
    • Memory
    • Emotion, Motovation, Attention
  • Neurological Disease / Pathology
  • Psychopharmacology - Drugs, biochemistry, Neurotransmitters, Ion Channels, ...
  • Genetics
  • Computational and systems neuroscience - Computer and mathematical computational models of brain functions.
See others at wikipedia.

In "Introduction to Neuroscience" at Syracuse (link no longer available) they classify Neuroscience as follows:

  1. By level of analysis
    1. Molecular neuroscience - what molecules, neurochemistry
    2. Cellular neuroscience - how do neurons work?
    3. Systems neuroscience - circuits of neurons, visual system, motor systems
    4. Behavioral neuroscience - how do systems lead to integrated behaviors?
    5. Cognitive neuroscience - how does brain create mind? language, consciousness
  2. By career
    1. Clinical neuroscientists
      • Neurologist - MD who diagnoses and treats diseases of nervous system
      • Psychiatrist - MD who diagnose and treat mood and personality disorders
      • Neurosurgeon - MD who does surgery on brain and spinal cord
      • Neuropathologist -MD or PhD who examines nervous tissue looking for signs of disease
    2. Experimental neuroscientists
      • Computational neuroscientist
      • Developmental neurobiologist
      • Molecular neurobiologist
      • Neuroanatomist
      • Neurochemist
      • Neuroethologist
      • Neuropharmacologist
      • Neuropsychologist (psychobiologist, biological psychologist)
      • Psychophysicist
Some Links:
Neuroscience Research
Neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health
Neuroscience and Athletics
MIT OpenCourseWare | Brain and Cognitive Sciences | 9.01 Introduction to Neuroscience
NeuroGuide.com - Neurosciences on the Internet
Society for Neuroscience - (Brain Facts , Public Resources, ...)
Neuroscience at wikipedia.
Neuroscience News at Biocompare
History of Neuroscience including Nobel Prize winners
Mental and neurological diseases
Neurobiology Animations at
Neuro 1 Web site at Brown University
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at NIH.gov
Neuroscience for Kids at U. of Washington
Back Pain - Symptoms - Cause - Remedy
The Secret Life of the Brain : History of the Brain a pbs.org

Principals of Neuroscience, Fourth Edition, 2000, Eric Kandel, James Schwartz, Thomas Jessell
Fundamental Neuroscience, Second Edition, 2003, by Squire, Larry R.; Bloom, Floyd E.; McConnell, Susan K.; Roberts, James L.; Spitzer, Nicholas C.; Zigmond, Michael J.
Neuroscience, Third Edition, 2004, by Dale Purves, George J. Augustine, David Fitzpatrick, Lawrence C. Katz, Anthony-Samuel Lamantia, James O. Mcnamara, S. Mark Williams
Essentials of Neural Science and Behavior, 1995, by Eric Kandel, James Schwartz, Thomas Jessell
Foundations of Cellular Neurophysiology, 1994, by Daniel Johnston, Samuel Miao-Sin Wu
Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are, by Joseph Ledoux.
Best Neuroscience graduate programs at U.S.News
Frontiers in Neuroscience list of books at the National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health (NCBI) at NIH


Neuroscience Glossaries at csuchico.edu, ualberta.ca, Society for Neuroscience (SFN) (sfn.org), Neuroscience at a Glance (medicalNeuroscience.com)

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last updated 20 Mar 2010