Authors: Pierre Nelson, Gérard Lot

Introduction to the Study of the Neural Basis of Action and Thought

eBook: US $79 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $158
Printed Copy: US $119
Library License: US $316
ISBN: 978-1-60805-983-6 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-982-9 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2015
DOI: 10.2174/97816080598291150101


How do neurons work in processes that guide thought and action? This eBook answers this question by presenting an accurate analysis of all the physico-chemical phenomena occurring between interconnected neurons. Once researchers have this information, they can then build a functional catalog of neurons and understand the working behind the simplest physiological elements and these can hopefully be replicated into devices. Microscopic and macroscopic experimental results can assist in the study of sensorial analysis, instincts and motor control of skeletal muscles. The book also presents a description of memory at the cellular level and gives insights about the learning process in living systems. Such research has increased our understanding of the mechanisms of animal behaviors from the honeybee to the dog. In human beings, the efficiency of the same neural mechanisms overtakes a threshold when language allows building new abstract signals from previous abstract signals. Introduction to the Neural Basis of Action and Thought demonstrates to readers how physiological processes allow us to recall words and generate sentences and how these processes support abstract thought, action and self awareness. This book is a useful primer for anyone interested in cognitive sciences and related research.


As a physician specialist in urodynamics (and a researcher in mathematical modeling of lower urinary tract and micturition), I need to connect the complaints of my patients to physiological causes. In most cases causes can be myogenic, neurogenic or both. Nervous excitations are poorly defined and poorly measured (because very invasive) in human. We know that the brain plays a great part in the control of micturition. But cognitive sciences do not teach us anything in connection with the conscious aspect of control. From functional imagery, we learn that some changes in the map of activated areas come with some voiding dysfunctions. However all this is awfully fuzzy.

From non-invasive to invasive, proposed treatments of voiding dysfunction are rehabilitation, chemical such as α-blockers or anti-muscarinic, sacral neuromodulation, botulinum toxin and at last surgery.

Rehabilitation probably induces new behaviors and therefore new reflexes while chemical treatment modifies intercellular transmission and neuromodulation or botulinum toxin the synaptic transmission.

Many studies are carried out on a small step on one phenomenon and unfortunately on animals. Thus I felt strongly the need of a synthesis.

Then, I met two physicists: Pierre Nelson and Gérard Lot. After a bright career, they devoted their mastery of mathematical modeling applied to practical problems to the study of nervous activity. Proceeding by little steps, they started from the physicochemical properties of a neuron to obtain input-output relationships, which are the description of its processing signals ability. From then, they could overlook all physicochemical properties and look only at the functional ones. If large assemblies of parallel, competitive or modulating neurons explain easily the behavior of frog, human mechanisms are much more intricate and their description complicated. However, I think that the effort of description and modeling of these specialists is a great step in the understanding of action and thought.

Françoise A. Valentini
MD, Dr es Sci Phys (PhD)
Université Pierre et Marie CURIE (Paris 06)
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department Hôpital
Rothschild, Paris, France