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January 1969

Nerve Excitation: A Macromolecular Approach.

Arch Neurol. 1969;20(1):112-113. doi:10.1001/archneur.1969.00480070122017

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This is an important contribution from a leading investigator. About half of the slim (201 pp) book presents data on the electrophysiology of nerve fibers and describes simply some of the quantitative relations. However, the account limits itself largely to "the experimental data and interpretations established during the past decade (sic) mainly from the giant axon of the squid;..." (pp vi-vii). Perhaps for this reason the contribution of Erlanger and Blair to the concept of saltatory conduction is not mentioned, nor is there a discussion of afterpotentials which were long ago shown to be characteristic manifestions of different types of axons.

The remainder, including three appendices (pp 167-192) is devoted to electrochemical theory, to a critique (mainly pp 147-151) of the ionic theory of Hodgkin and Huxley, and to the author's own "macromolecular approach." Cooperative interactions among different cations are supposed to produce "a conformational change of the membrane molecules"

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