Novices: Start Here

David Longley David at
Tue May 30 01:29:36 EST 1995

I just thought I'd  contribute  what  I conjecture to be a non controversial
point for those unfamilair with the nature of the neurosciences.

Many looking at the  neurosciences  first the  first time get somewhat stuck
on the point that this is all  about  brain  research. It is and it isn't, &
the equivocation needs to be made clear.

For many people working in the  neurosciences,  perhaps  the  majority,  the
brain is an organ where they can practice their skills in anatomy, histology
pharmacology, biochemistry and so on. The fact that they use their skills to
examine the brain as an organ can be somewhat incidental. In  fact,  a  very
large part (many would even say the *best* part) of the work in neuroscience
has little to do with behaviour, consciousness, learning and so on.. on  the
the other hand, without all of the mainstream work, the more  exotic  latter
work wouldn't have much to work with at all.

A second point worth stating is that the vast majority of brain research  is
done on animals, largely rats. Those  unfamiliar with  the  anatomy  of  the 
mammalian brain generally do not appreciate how much of what we  know  about
the brain has been based on work originally done with the rat. 
David Longley

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