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A mouse may appear insignificant due to its small size, but its complex nervous system has played a significant role in neuroscience studies. Such a system is intricate enough for a book, the thickness of 4 adult mice lying on top of one another, to be written about it. There were three main reasons for such a book: it would serve as an introductory guide to neuroscience for molecular biologists, provide insight on the new discoveries of gene expression, and highlight that mice are unique as compared to the more commonly studied rats. The Mouse Nervous System, edited by Charles Watson, George Paxinos, and Luis Puelles, does just that by thoroughly venturing through the crevices of the central nervous system of the mouse.
To the general public, the mouse brain may appear to be a simple chunk of mass, but neurologists and anatomists would beg to differ. This book, having been composed by professionals in the fields of neurology and anatomy, shows how complicated the mouse brain actually is. Of the 33 chapters devoted to the anatomy of the mouse brain, the first three are about its stages of development. These earlier chapters also include past experiments which provide support for the facts about development. For more than half of the book, from chapter four until chapter fifteen, the structure of the brain is presented as a whole and then as individual parts. Thus, the text and real life anatomy figures both serve as dissections of the mouse brain. Furthermore, images throughout the book are useful and relevant not only to those who learn from viewing pictures but also serve as supplemental information for those who learn from reading text.
After introducing the reader to the fundamentals of the mouse brain, the systems and their respective functions are presented in chapters 16 through 27. With most important information already provided in the first half of the book, these later chapters serve to assist the reader in connecting the dots on how all those structures function together. In addition to providing background knowledge about the nervous system of the mouse, this book is also user-friendly because a table of contents that is chapter-specific is present at the beginning of each respective chapter. The helpfulness continues at the conclusion of chapters where a list of references is presented so the reader can read more about an intriguing subject. Perhaps the most unique feature of this book is the abbreviations list which is located near the end of certain chapters. This list is beneficial to both the writers and readers; the writers can provide the intended definitions which will lessen the likelihood that the reader searches and finds an inaccurate abbreviation.
A textbook of this size is expected to contain an abundance of information about the nervous system of the mouse, which it does. Although its content is focused on an audience of molecular biologists and neuroscientists, the cleverly organized layout offers enough background knowledge for any reader to be able to understand the later chapters when human diseases, using the mouse brain as a model, are discussed. This book is highly recommended for someone striving to learn about the mouse nervous system in great detail.-Katalina J. Sher, Jack W. Tsao Department of Neurology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Services
Charles Watson is a specialist in the area of brain and spinal cord mapping. He graduated in medicine from the University of Sydney in 1967 and was awarded a research doctorate (MD) by the University of New South Wales in 1974. He lectured in anatomy at the UNSW from 1970 to 1982, when he took up a career in public health in the Health Department of Western Australia, being appointed Chief Health Officer for WA in 1993.
He returned to university life in 1994, holding the position of Dean of Health Sciences at the University of Wollongong and Curtin University until 2006. Since then he has held research positions at Curtin and at Neuroscience Research Australia. Since 2006 he has published 11 books and over 40 journal articles.
Watson was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2004. He earned a DSc (by thesis) from the University of Sydney in 2012.
In his spare time he swims in the ocean, and he is an enthusiastic but mediocre player of the baritone saxophone. His musical favourites are Frank Zappa, Brian Eno, and Beethoven.
Professor George Paxinos, AO (BA, MA, PhD, DSc) completed his BA at The University of California at Berkeley, his PhD at McGill University, and spent a postdoctoral year at Yale University. He is the author of almost 50 books on the structure of the brain of humans and experimental animals, including The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates, now in its 7th Edition, which is ranked by Thomson ISI as one of the 50 most cited items in the Web of Science. Dr. Paxinos paved the way for future neuroscience research by being the first to produce a three-dimensional (stereotaxic) framework for placement of electrodes and injections in the brain of experimental animals, which is now used as an international standard. He was a member of the first International Consortium for Brain Mapping, a UCLA based consortium that received the top ranking and was funded by the NIMH led Human Brain Project. Dr. Paxinos has been honored with more than nine distinguished awards throughout his years of research, including: The Warner Brown Memorial Prize (University of California at Berkeley, 1968), The Walter Burfitt Prize (1992), The Award for Excellence in Publishing in Medical Science (Assoc Amer Publishers, 1999), The Ramaciotti Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research (2001), The Alexander von Humbolt Foundation Prize (Germany 2004), and more.