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Book and Media Reviews
June 11, 2008


JAMA. 2008;299(22):2689-2690. doi:10.1001/jama.299.22.2689

The fourth edition of Neuroscience, edited by Dale Purves and colleagues, is a worthy successor to the previous editions of this series. As with the previous editions, this book is suitable for a variety of readers, from advanced undergraduates studying introductory neuroscience to clinicians and researchers with extensive experience in the neurosciences. However, the focus of this book is pedagogical, with a target audience of introductory neuroscience students. The overall content of this book is similar to that of other neuroscience textbooks and consists of 31 chapters organized into 5 broad sections: neuronal function, which includes electrophysiology, synaptic transmission, intracellular signaling, and synaptic plasticity; sensory systems, including somatosensory, visual, auditory, vestibular, and chemical senses; motor systems, encompassing motor units, spinal cord and brainstem, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and autonomic pathways; neuronal development and plasticity, delineating embryogenesis, formation of neuronal processes and synapses, learning, and neuronal regeneration; and higher-level functions, evaluating associative functions such as speech, emotions, and memory. In addition, a fairly comprehensive summary of neuroanatomy is provided in the Appendix.