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September 23, 1988

The Retina: An Approachable Part of the Brain

Author Affiliations

St Louis University

St Louis University


by John E. Dowling, 282 pp, with illus, $37.50, Cambridge, Mass, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1987.

JAMA. 1988;260(12):1792-1793. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410120138048

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


As aptly suggested in the title, a study of neural processes operant in the retina should assist in an understanding of the intricate mechanisms involved in the workings of the brain. If this was the intent of this work, the goal has been accomplished.

In sharing both his experience as a renowned investigator of the retina and the evolution of neurobiology in the past three decades, Dr Dowling presents a number of complex concepts involving neural mechanisms in the retina and leaves the reader to ponder parallels in the central nervous system. Thus, this book should appeal to all students and researchers in the field of neurobiology as well as clinicians with an interest in retinal physiology. For the nonspecialist, the prose is simple and clear, and an excellent primer chapter at the end of the text presents fundamental concepts and terms pertaining to recent research of the retina and