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Brain Circuitry and Signaling in Psychiatry

Basic Science and Clinical Implications

Edited by Gary B. Kaplan, M.D., and Ronald P. Hammer Jr., Ph.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-957-7
  • Item #8957

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The 1990s, appropriately termed the decade of the brain, witnessed unprecedented advances in our knowledge of psychiatric neuroscience. Yet with every advance, we realized afresh that we were still in the beginning stages of a much longer journey.

This text chronicles the next step of that journey. Structured around a proven teaching methodology that uniquely integrates the clinical aspects of psychiatric disorders with their neurobiology, this volume begins with two introductory chapters on functional neural circuitry and neural signaling pathways. The remaining six chapters present current knowledge on the neuroanatomic and neurochemical mechanisms underlying schizophrenia, addiction, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and dementia/Alzheimer's disease. For clarity and consistency, each chapter features the same four divisions—clinical presentation, neural circuitry, signaling pathways, and psychopharmacology—as they relate to

  • Schizophrenia, which reviews studies of the neural basis of schizophrenia and describes how the cortex, the thalamus, the basal ganglia, and the medial temporal lobe work together during normal brain function and then how each is perturbed in psychosis.

  • Addiction, which focuses on the consequences of psychoactive substance use, including compulsive practices (e.g., eating, sex, Internet browsing) that might also involve the same brain circuits and signaling pathways. Of exceptional value are two unique illustrations that capture—for the first time—much of what we know about the anatomy and neurochemistry underlying the behavioral symptoms of addiction.

  • Anxiety, which presents current hypotheses regarding neurocircuitry and signaling pathways for the three best-studied (from a neurobiologic perspective) anxiety disorders: panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

  • Depression, which offers evidence for the involvement of highly interconnected cortical and limbic structures such as the prefrontal cortex, medial thalamus, amygdala, ventral striatum, hippocampus, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in unipolar major depression, and suggests target areas (such as the cAMP pathway) for study in the development of new antidepressants.

  • Bipolar disorder, which shows that specific abnormalities in signal transduction pathways, including protein kinase activity, G protein levels, and gene expression, are unique to bipolar patients, concluding that the actions of lithium and anticonvulsants on intracellular signaling pathways provide a new paradigm for novel pharmacological interventions.

  • Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, which details current findings on neurofibrillary degeneration, relevant genes and proteins, pathogenesis (metabolic decline, defective cell repair, and Aß toxicity), and treatment strategies (neurotransmitter replacement, and neuroprotective and regenerative approaches). Discusses frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson's disease, and vascular dementia.

Meticulously researched and clearly written by 15 contributors—all recognized experts from leading research and teaching institutions in the United States—this compact and extensively illustrated volume stands out in the literature because it combines readability and practicality with the breadth and depth typically found only in far lengthier works. Psychiatric practitioners, residents, and students alike will welcome this informative, easy-to-read text, which will also be of special interest to mental health and pharmaceutical industry professionals, and of general interest to anyone who wants to know more about the biology of psychiatric illness.


  • Contributors
  • Introduction to the Progress in Psychiatry Series
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. Introduction to Functional Neural Circuitry
  • Chapter 2. Introduction to Neuronal Signaling Pathways
  • Chapter 3. Neural Circuitry and Signaling in Schizophrenia
  • Chapter 4. Neural Circuitry and Signaling in Addiction
  • Chapter 5. Neural Circuitry and Signaling in Anxiety
  • Chapter 6. Neural Circuitry and Signaling in Depression
  • Chapter 7. Neural Circuitry and Signaling in Bipolar Disorder
  • Chapter 8. Neural Circuitry and Signaling in Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
  • Index

About the Authors

Gary B. Kaplan, M.D., is Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology at Brown University School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Ronald P. Hammer Jr., Ph.D., is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine and Laboratory of Research in Psychiatry, New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

Can you remember years ago in training, when you read something that married disparate facts and ideas in a way that your heart quickened with the joy of enlightenment?. . . While reading this modest-sized volume, I found some of that still-inducible excitement and wonder returning in epiphanous moments, when digesting particularly lucidly written passages and skillful diagrams. . . . The editors [have produced] a well-structured, efficient but engaging effort, including specific sections where the going gets technical and complicated. . . . [I]t is particular distinguished for its editorial effort and generally good writing. I have too infrequently found a multiauthored group of chapters so skillfully and seamlessly edited into a collaborative narrative.—William M. Greenberg, M.D., American Journal of Orthopsychiatry

For research fellows in training, or an advanced course in residency, this could be an excellent source book. For a clinical researcher dedicated to a relatively confined area, this book concisely and clearly explains the other 95% that we wish we knew as well as our own area. It's all in here. This volume will be a timely addition to a clinician's or researcher's desk library. It has become an essential companion to my daily reading time, helping me keep straight on the paths of the midbrain and basal forebrain.. . .All this is to say that if a helpful guide to neuropsychiatry is needed, here it is. No fear factor, just clarity and accuracy in a compact handbook, written so well that any amygdale will be pleased.—Ronald M. Salomon, M.D., Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 6/1/2003

Brain Circuitry and Signaling in Psychiatry, edited by Kaplan and Hammer, is a highly successful effort that integrates advances in our knowledge of neural function and clinical psychiatry. International authorities review recent research findings in neural circuitry and relate these data to clinical disorders, including schizophrenia, mood disorders, and addiction. The authors describe complex theoretical constructs in a clear and concise manner, and link basic science findings to the pathophysiology and treatment of major psychiatric disorders. This book is an ideal introduction to the neural mechanisms underlying psychiatric illness, and should be required reading for psychiatry residents and practicing psychiatrists who want a well written, clinically relevant update on basic research. There are few, if any, books that link neuroscience and psychiatric disorders as well as this one does.—Domenic A. Ciraulo, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts

A lucid and comprehensive overview that will prove very useful for beginners and for more seasoned clinicians and researchers who need to explore the state of knowledge outside their areas of greatest expertise. This book provides the 'mental velcro' on which to add new information in clinical neuroscience as it becomes available at an ever-accelerating pace.—Benjamin D. Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, Chief, Outpatient Services, Butler Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island

The editors and authors provide an excellent review of contemporary facts and opinion of neural connections relevant to psychiatric disorders and their pharmacological treatment. The numerous clear definitions and clear diagrams will aid students and practitioners. Experienced clinicians will find this book especially valuable, as the majority of practicing clinicians were trained before the discovery of much of this material.—Marshal F. Folstein, M.D., Chairman and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, New England Medical Center

The only thing to do is buy this book, prescribe it to students, and honor it for what it is: good.—Metapsychology Online, 6/1/2003

If you typically read with a highlighter in hand, be prepared to end up with a nearly entirely yellow book. Virtually every sentence in this short volume is of substance; each chapter is written by a top investigator in the field.—Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 6/1/2003

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