The War of the Soups and the Sparks: The Discovery of by Elliot S. Valenstein

By Elliot S. Valenstein

Just like the cracking of the genetic code and the construction of the atomic bomb, the invention of ways the brain's neurons paintings is likely one of the basic medical advancements of the 20th century. the invention of neurotransmitters revolutionized the best way we expect concerning the mind and what it capability to be human but few humans understand how they have been stumbled on, the scientists concerned, or the fierce controversy approximately whether or not they even existed. The battle of the Soups and the Sparks tells the saga of the dispute among the pharmacologists, who had exposed the 1st facts that nerves converse by way of liberating chemical compounds, and the neurophysiologists, specialists at the fearful process, who brushed off the proof and remained devoted to electric explanations.

The protagonists of this tale are Otto Loewi and Henry Dale, who got Nobel Prizes for his or her paintings, and Walter Cannon, who could have shared the prize with them if he had no longer been persuaded to undertake a debatable concept (how that occurred is a vital a part of this history). Valenstein units his tale of medical discovery opposed to the backdrop of 2 global wars and examines the interesting lives of a number of scientists whose paintings was once laid low with the social and political occasions in their time. He recounts such tales as Loewi's arrest via Nazi hurricane soldiers and Dale's efforts at aiding key scientists get away Germany.

The conflict of the Soups and the Sparks finds how technology and scientists paintings. Valenstein describes the observations and experiments that resulted in the invention of neurotransmitters and sheds mild on what determines no matter if a singular inspiration will achieve popularity one of the medical group. His paintings additionally explains the enormous value of Loewi, Dale, and Cannon's achievements in our realizing of the human mind and how psychological health problems are conceptualized and taken care of.

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Additional info for The War of the Soups and the Sparks: The Discovery of Neurotransmitters and the Dispute Over How Nerves Communicate

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C. Danbolt, Department of Anatomy, University of Oslo. impulse conduction. This contributes to the much higher conduction velocity in myelinated axons than in unmyelinated axons (this is further discussed in Chapter 2 under "Impulse Conduction in Axons"). The thickest myelinated axons conduct at about 120 m/sec. The myelin sheath consists almost exclusively of numerous layers of cell membrane, as evident from electron micrographs (Figs. 31). The layers, or lamellae, are formed when a glial cell wraps itself around the axon (Fig.

1). For peripheral parts of the nervous system, the situation is different. Often located superficially, the peripheral bundles of axons and groups of nerve cells are exposed to various mechanical stresses. They are also subject to considerable stretching by movements of the body. Axons can be stretched only slightly before their impulse conduction suffers, and they may even break. To prevent this, peripheral nerves contain large amounts of dense connective tissue with numerous collagen fibers arranged largely longitudinally (Fig.

24 The cytoskeleton in neurons. Drawing of neurons from the cerebral cortex, as appearing in sections stained with heavy metals to visualize neurofibrils. Both dendrites and axons (a) contain numerous neurofibrils. From Cajal 1952. The cell bodies and processes of neurons contain thin threads, neurofibrils, that can be observed in specially stained microscopic sections (Fig. 24). The neurofibrils are of different kinds, but together they form the cytoskeleton—the name refers to its importance for development and maintenance of neuronal shape.

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