Exploring Glial Cells with R. Douglas Fields (BSP 69)

Recent research has discovered that glial cells (the non-neuronal cells that make up about 85% of the cells in the human nervous system) actually do more than just support neurons.  In Episode 69 of the Brain Science Podcast, I explore some of these recent discoveries with pioneering researcher, R. Douglas Fields, PhD.  Dr. Fields is the author of The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science.  The Other Brain provides a compelling introduction to this exciting new field.  It is aimed at general readers, but it should also be on the must-read list for all students of neuroscience.

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  • The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science, by R. Douglas Fields (2010).
  • Glial Neurobiology: A Textbook, by Alexei Verkhratsky and Arthur Butt (2007).
  • Bullock, T. H., Bennett, M. V., Johnston, D., Josephson, R., Marder, E., Fields, R. D. "Neuroscience. The neuron doctrine, redux." Science 310. 5749 (2005): 791-3.
  • Perspectives.
  • Bullock, T. H. (2004) The Natural History of Neuroglia: an agenda for comparative studies. Neuron Glial Biology 1:97-100.
  • Fields, R. D. (2006) Beyond the Neuron Doctrine. Scientific American Mind June/July 17:20-27.


  • The Other Brain website.
  • R. Douglas Fields: Chief and Senior Researcher of the Section on Nervous System Development and Plasticity at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which is part of NIH.
  • Dr. Ichiji Tasaki; worked at NIH for over 50 years and was a pioneering researcher of nerve conduction. (See the episode transcript for links to the other researchers that were mentioned in this episode.)

Related Episodes of the Brain Science Podcast:

  • BSP 8: How Neurons Communicate.
  • BSP 56: Interview with Dr. Eve Marder


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  • Correction: Barbara Strauch is the author of The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind.  (Note the correct spelling of STRAUCH)

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