How Our Brains Become Who We Are
by Joseph LeDoux
Prerequisites: Some biology/chemistry
terminology and the ability to remember terminology - brain anatomy not
necessary but helps to paint a proper picture
Tone: Somewhat dry in spots, but very informative.
Neurology books are seldom an easy read, but this is the most
accessible volume I've come across, and it has some fascinating tidbits
of information in it. It might scare you as to how much is known
about the brain, but then you'd be aware that your fear was merely the
result of your amygdala setting up your prefrontal cortext to pay
attention to a threatening stimulus :)
This book attempts to answer some interesting questions of
consciousness, and as such starts with quite a smattering of philosophy (just as Walter Freeman's "How The Brain Makes Up Its
Mind" does - I never would have thought philosophy makes such inroad
into the profession :) and does a passable job at that.
You'll be amazed at the detail with which some things are known and
what's still up in the air. The research on emotion and motivation
will lead you to perhaps think that Star Trek's Vulcans are an
impossible construct who would never even get out of bed (yes, yes, only if they were as 'perfectly logical' as
they purported ;). The insights into depression and anxiety
are fascinating, and add some clarity to the roles of drugs,
psychotherapists and patients, and how well they work together.
I find it pretty spooky, myself, how much experimentation with rats
applies to humans. Talk about conservation of function over the
First Aid for the Wards: Insider Advice for the Clinical
Years by Le, Bushan et al.
Prerequisites: A fair bit of biology and
medical terminology - capacity for acronyms
Tone: Brisk, straight to the point, practical.
An interesting insight into what goes on in the hectic lives of
medical students thrown into the practical world in a ward setting,
this is a book of advice and practical examples from students who have
been through the wringer. Who you have to deal with, how you should
write up reports, who's in the ward you can ask for help, how to come
out looking like a team player, and what special skills and know-how
you'll need when you go on rotation through the various departments.
Also has a valuable rating system at the end of chapters of books
you can use to further your study; what to buy if you can afford it,
what to avoid and why.
To me, it was an interesting technical/political view of what goes
on behind closed doors as medical professionals try to keep up with the
patients in the hospital and the queues in the waiting room. I have
deep respect for anyone who can survive this process and not take it
out on their patients :)
Back to the Library.