August 18, 1978

The Biochemical Basis of Neuropharmacology

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago


by Jack R. Cooper, Floyd E. Bloom, and Robert H. Roth, ed 3; 327 pp, with illus, $13.95, paper $6.95, New York, Oxford University Press, 1978.

JAMA. 1978;240(7):685. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290070087031

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The latest edition of this text remains clear and comprehensive, and the two new chapters—on receptors and neuroactive peptides—keep the reader at the forefront of research in the field. Complex aspects of drug-receptor interaction are explained in a nontechnical style, but there is no talking down, and the reader must work to grasp the ideas.

Recent research suggesting peptides as possible transmitters or modulators in the nervous system is presented critically. The authors commendably avoid the extravagant claims sometimes made for involvement of endorphins in analgesia, mental disorders, and drug addiction. They also appreciate the humorous aspects of the field. "A Reader's Guide to Peptide Poaching" suggests several questions that will need to be answered by future research on neuroactive peptides. The ultimate question is, "Can theorists of brain function find a useful purpose for so many excitatory and inhibitory substances?" This chapter also includes material on hormone-releasing factors, for