Brain and Spinal Cord Plasticity: An Interdisciplinary and Integrative Approach for Behavior, Cognition and Health


Series: Neuroscience Research Progress
BISAC: MED057000

The brain exhibits extraordinarily complex activity and undergoes very rapid change during early development. The ways in which the brain undergoes change during development and interacts with other elements — such as genetics and the environment — can influence behavioral organization. This process of change and the ability to be molded (which is known as plasticity) is important for development, organization, and recovery of function after injury or damage. Through processes involving mechanisms of plasticity, both behavior and cognition can be influenced in many ways important to neurological and psychological function and health. The confluence of brain plasticity, behavior, cognition, and health is complex and requires an interdisciplinary and integrative examination to fully appreciate the biological and psychological implications. The author utilizes this unique approach to review evidence important for behavior and cognition, while addressing important implications for physical and mental health and wellness. (Imprint: Nova Biomedical)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



List of Abbreviations

Part I: The Central Nervous System, Plasticity, and Recovery of Function

Chapter 1. Brain Plasticity

Chapter 2. Spinal Cord Plasticity

Chapter 3. Plasticity and Recovery of Function

Part II: The Brain, Cognition, and Health

Chapter 4. Brain and Cognition

Chapter 5. Brain Health and Medicine




Amy Jo Marcano-Reik is known for her engaging, personable, simplified and enthusiastic presentation of complex aspects of psychology and biology, and this book is no exception. This book reads like you’re having a cup of coffee with a wise, warm friend who is explaining the brilliant connections she sees among some of the most important research on the brain and spinal cord, while describing the research in just enough detail to really grasp the conclusions, which revolve around the hopeful message of plasticity — the ability of the brain and spinal cord to grow and change over time in response to experience. This book is jam-packed with information ranging from the accomplishments of Nobel Prize Winners, details about ground breaking neuroscientific methods, the latest on brain and spinal cord plasticity across the lifespan, typical and atypical cognitive functioning, and tips on how to use all that information to live a healthier life. The author’s precise attention to detail in accurately describing the most fundamental research in the field, combined with her wide-lens approach to integrating this research with health and medicine applications, tell a multidisciplinary and integrative story about plasticity in the brain and spinal cord across the lifespan that has not been comprehensively told until now. At a time when companies are profiting from making unfounded claims about brain training programs, Marcano-Reik draws reasonable, scientifically supported
conclusions about the scientific evidence of brain and spinal cord plasticity across the lifespan in relation to cognitive functioning, health and medicine. If you been curious about brain training programs, then you owe it to yourself to read this book. As a cognitive psychologist who has lost my own mother to a brain tumor, I see this book as not only a knowledgeable and artful description of current research, but also a story of hope – of what we know to be possible within neuroscience and what is on the horizon for future research. I will recommend this book to my colleagues, use it in my graduate and undergraduate courses, and send a copy to a special friend whose daughter is living with a brain tumor.
Ashleigh M. Maxcey (Associate Professor of Psychology, Tennessee State University)

Click here to read the book review by – Dr. Ashleigh M. Maxcey, Associate Professor of Psychology, Tennessee State University

Additional Information

The book is written for a diverse audience of scholars and students interested in the brain, behavior, cognition, and health. This book, as the title suggests, provides a very unique interdisciplinary and integrative approach. For this reason, this book crosses and transcends multiple disciplines and interdisciplinary programs: neuroscience, psychosocial studies, health and medicine, and genetics and environmental studies. The book provides an intersectional meeting point for scholars interested in the brain (natural sciences) and behavior (social sciences). It also addresses persistent, enduring questions such as the impact of nature versus nurture on development and behavior.

The book is relevant for scholars studying brain, spinal cord, plasticity, behavior, and cognition in the academic fields of neuroscience, neurology, psychology (including social psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, neuropsychology, sensation and perception), psychiatry, biology, ethics, genetics, health and medicine. In addition to undergraduate-, graduate- and professional-level scholars, this book will appeal to practitioners of medicine and other health care professionals providing services for individuals diagnosed with conditions or diseases involving the brain or cognitive capacity (e.g., epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), Alzheimer’s disease). The findings and examinations provided throughout this book can be applied to graduate and undergraduate courses in neuroscience, psychology, biology, ethics, health, and medicine.

This work will also appeal to a much wider audience, including healthcare consultants and analysts, allied health professionals, patients and patient advocates, patient- or disease-advocacy organizations, and any reader who is interested in learning more about the ways in which the brain develops in response to behavior and experience and gives rise to higher, complex processes (e.g., cognition) and health. In addition, this book will also appeal to a much more general and wide reader audience for anyone interested in learning more about how to achieve, maintain, and sustain physical (brain) and mental (psychological) health.

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