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Cholinergic mechanisms Phylogenetic aspects central and peripheral synapses and clinical significance (Advances in Behavioral Biology Vol 24). Edited by G. Pepeu and H

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Cortical Dysfunctioning i n Children
w i t h Specific Reading Disability
By W. S. Sobotowitz and J . R. Evans
Springfield, IL, Charles C Thomas, I982
I30 pp, illustrated, $1 9.75
This book, intended for both psychologist and neurologist,
begins with a discussion of the definitional problems of
specific reading disability, including some discussion of subsyndromes. This is followed by an up-to-date critical review
of the neuroanatomical, neuropathological, electrophysiological (both EEG and evoked potentials), and neurobehavioral
(e.g., dichotic listening and tachistoscopic) studies that have
been done on children with specific reading disability. The
authors limit their discussion of the reading process per se to
delineation of the classic neurological syndromes (e.g., alexia
without agraphia) through discussion of current psycholinguistic concepts, such as deep dyslexia, that might prove useful. Within the limits the authors define for the book, it is a
readable and rather complete contribution.
Ruth Nass, M D
New York, N Y
Cholinergic Mechanisms: Phylogenetic Aspects, Central
and Peripheral Synapses, and Clinical Significance
(Advances in Behavioral Biology, Vol 24)
Edited by G . Pepeu and H . Ladinsky
New York, Plenum Press, 1981
989 PP
This book represents the latest information on nearly every
aspect of the cholinergic system as of the spring of 1980.Like
previous volumes in this series of published symposia on
cholinergic mechanisms (part of the Advances in Behavioral
Biology Series), it will probably prove a valuable reference
source for many years.
The search for an unequivocal marker of central cholinergic function in human beings continues. Clinical studies give considerable emphasis to blood choline as a marker
of psychiatric and neurological disease. The role of the cholinergic system in human memory and in the pathophysiology
of Alzheimer disease is elaborated further; the inability to
find an effective therapy for this “cholinergic disease” represents a challenge to our basic and clinical understanding of
the cholinergic system. Numerous chapters deal with the distribution of cholinergic neurons in the central nervous system
of humans and animals. The animal studies combine classic
lesioning techniques with measurements of choline acetyltransferase activities or rates of acetylcholinesterase synthesis;
they uniformly suggest that cortical cholinergic neurons originate in the nucleus basalis of Meynert. Many hypotheses on
the regulation of acetylcholine synthesis and release in mammalian and nonmammalian central and peripheral nervous
systems are evaluated. Considerable controversy exists about
the role of vesicular and nonvesicular acetylcholine, the con-
trol of synthesis by high-affinity choline uptake, and the
source of acetyl groups and regulation of their availability.
However, studies on in vivo interactions between acetylcholine metabolism and numerous drugs and other neurotransmitters provide clinically relevant leads without yielding
full knowledge of the regulatory mechanisms.
This book would make good cover-to-cover reading only
for those with a strong interest in cholinergic mechanisms.
However, some chapters are a must for those concerned with
either basic or clinical aspects of the nervous system.
Gaty Gibson, PhD
New York. NY
The Neurophysiology of the Cerebral Cortex
By Lynn Bindman and Olof Lippold
Austin, University of Texas Press, I981
495 pp, illustrated, $8.5.00
The authors’ expressed purpose in writing this book was to
provide both critical reviews of a spectrum of topics in cortical neurophysiology for research workers and a text for
graduate-level courses. Unfortunately, the often idiosyncratic
viewpoints expressed and the long delay in producing this
volume have caused it to miss the mark on both accounts.
The first three sections review cortical neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, and neurochemistry. A great deal of emphasis
is placed on older studies, and modern work (e.g., physiological tracer neuroanatomical studies, immunohistochemistry)
that has superseded it is often mentioned only briefly, if at all.
The authors review in detail Lippold’s eccentric contention
that the origin of virtually all EEG activity is in ocular, neck,
and facial muscles. Although a reasonable case is made that
waveforms of the size and pattern of those recorded in the
EEG may arise from orbital tissues, no compelling evidence is
provided that this is the usual source of the waveforms recorded in the EEG. Certainly the comment that “the major
part of the {visual) evoked response at latencies of more than
35 msec is due to muscle contraction” flies in the face of a
considerable amount of experience in interpreting evoked
The fourth section attempts systematically to review motor
and sensory information processing in the cerebral cortex.
These chapters come closest to the goal of providing broadbased critical reviews of cortical information processing but
are consistently focused on material that is more than a decade old. Only brief sections are devoted, for example, to the
elegant single unit studies of Evarts, Mountcastle, and their
associates in awake, behaving monkeys.
The final two chapters, consisting of a review of learning
and memory, bear little relationship to the preceding sections. The purpose here seems to have been to relate learning
to synaptic plasticity in the cerebral cortex. If so, the review
of plasticity could be greatly expanded and updated, while
the remaining sections, a veritable graveyard of longdiscarded hypotheses, could be omitted.
These last sections highlight the main problem with this
book: much of its organization and information are idiosyncratically interpreted or outdated. There are a few references
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