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Book Review Arzneimittelwirkungen (Effects of Pharmaceuticals). By E. Mutschler

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Aquatic Chemistry. By W. Stumm and J. Morgan. John
Wiley and Sons Ltd., Chichester 1970. 1st ed., 583 pp.,
bound, E 11.75.
This is an excellent textbook. In collaboration with Morgan,
Stumm has developed his Harvard lectures into a compendium in which the fundamental chemical reactions in
aquatic chemistry are described, with particular emphasis
on the thermodynamic aspects. The clear layout of the
sets of formulas and the illustrative matter is a considerable
aid to the student. The authors’aim to establish a theoretical
basis for the chemical behavior of natural waters, i. e. the
oceans, estuaries, rivers, lakes, and ground water, has been
quite definitely achieved.
The consideration of the chemical processes involved in
the distribution and circulation of chemical substances in
natural waters, the fundamental reactions taking place
during water treatment, and the quantitative mathematical
treatment of the variables which determine the composition
of natural waters, are all amplified by numerous exercises
and calculations drawn from practical experience. It is
precisely this that gives the work its vigor as a textbook,
and will remind even the already qualified worker that it
is worth while having another look at thermodynamics.
Wilhelm Husmann
[NB 979 IE]
The Neurosciences: Second Study Program. Ed. by F.O.
Schmitt. The Rockefeller University Press, New York.
1st Edit., 1970, 11OOpp. 607 figures. Linen, $ 30.- for
individuals, $60.- for libraries.
“We are at the beginning, and not near the end, of the
process of understanding development. This is not the
time to summarize, but a time to prospect and project into
the future; and the best thing is to turn for guidance to the
living object which teaches us the lessons and also teaches
us the real problems to which we are to direct our questions”. This quotation from Paul Weiss, reproduced at the
beginning of one of the chapters, could well serve as a motto
for the book as a whole. It is of course true that this is
already the second report of a three-week conference of the
Neurosciences Research Program, the first having been
published in 1967. It is also true that the report’s lo00 or
more pages of A 4 size offer the reader an outstanding
survey of current knowledge of the structure and function
of animal and human nervous systems. Nevertheless, it is
precisely from these facts that it follows just how incomplete and in many respects rudimentary this knowledge is.
There are many reasons for this situation: The extraordinary complexity of the brain, which is never likely to be
completely unraveled with the methods presently available,
the inability to carry out experimental work with the human
brain-although it is precisely this organ which has undergone the greatest change in the course of man’s evolution
from his animal forebears, and which must therefore show
much weaker analogies to the corresponding animal organ
than in the case of, say, the liver, lungs, or the kidney-and
finally the problem that the integrating functions of the
brain (learning, memorizing, thinking, feeling) are at best
difficult, if not impossible to quantify. And yet, one must
not lose sight of the fact that, like all other organs in the
human body, the brain involves physical and chemical
processes, and that what we call intellect stems from a
finely balanced interplay of molecules and ions. Anyone
who approaches this volume from this standpoint and who
is not deterred by the profusion of anatomical and biological terms perhaps unfamiliar to the chemist, will find
588
himself richly rewarded. Eighty-eight chapters cover eight
general subjects :
Evolution of brain and behavior
Development of the nervous system
Determinants of neural and behavioral plasticity
Complex psychological functions
Neural subsystems and physiological operations
Communication and coding in the nervous system
Aspects of molecular neurobiology
Recognition and control at the molecular level
The volume is copiously and instructively illustrated.
Unfortunately, in the case of figures taken from other
books, abbreviations are sometimes reproduced without
explanation. Whereas this may be all right for the initiated,
it does represent an additional difficulty to those less
familiar with the field. It is to be hoped that the editors
of future volumes of this kind will generally have a thought
for interested scientists working in adjacent disciplines,
on whose collaboration neuroscience research will after
all have to rely if it is to make any real progress. More
diagrams, to explain the principles involved or the terminology used, would be of tremendous help, even when
they might be familiar to the specialist. Notwithstanding
such reservations, the present volume, like its predecessor,
undeniably represents a historic milestone in the literature
on neurosciences research.
Helmut Griinewald [NB 971 IE]
Arzneimittelwirkungen (Effects of Pharmaceuticals). By
E. Mutschler. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart
1970. 1st ed., xvi, 477 pp., 77 figs., bound, DM 48.-.
The object of this book was to provide an introduction to
pharmacology for pharmaceutical chemists, chemists, and
biologists, at the same time giving them the requisite background knowledge of medicine. Accordingly, the book
contains introductory chapters on anatomy and physiology,
which present what is needed for understanding of this
subject in brief, precise, and memorable form. This is
helped by the chapter “Explanation of medical terms” at
the end of the book, and also by the extensive and extremely
useful subject index.
In the general part of the book the author explains important pharmacological concepts such as conditions of
action, receptor theory, structure-effect relationships, and
side effects. In the following, more specific, section he deals
with the nervous system, endocrine glands and their
hormones, circulation, kidneys and the urinary tract, the
gastrointestinal tract, essential substances, infective diseases, chemotherapy of malignant tumors, and poisoning.
The author knows how to clarify and impress on the reader
the difficult interrelationships of this complex subject. He
has also undertaken to keep his book continually updated,
which in view of the rapid development of this field will be
quite a task. This can be seen from the fact that today, only
a year after the appearance of the first edition, there is
already additional material to be added (e.g. the inclusion
of L-Dopa therapy in the section on Parkinson’s desease).
With this book, Mutschler has undoubtedly fulfilled his
aim of providing instruction in pharmacology together
with the appropriate background knowledge of medicine.
Every scientist concerned with pharmacology should have
a copy. It should also prove to be a useful source of information for doctors.
Ernst Biekert [NB 980 IE]
Angew. Chem. internat. Edit. J Vol. I0 (1971) 1 No. 8
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