Has anybody read the above book, or anything like it?
"Briefly, Dr. Previc presents the provocative theory that approximately 80,000 years ago, high levels of dopamine led to the profound developmental leaps that most set modern man apart from his human and primate relatives. To do so, he follows the thread of dopamine through the critical cognitive skills of motor programming, working memory, cognitive flexibility, abstract representations, temporal analysis/sequencing, and generativity/creativivity."
The book is $80, so I can't buy it. And I don't know enough (i.e. any) neuroscience to read real journal articles. But if our digestive systems have been influenced by our modern environment, why not our brains? And our brains control lots of stuff (i.e. everything), so I'm sure there's some dopamine and eating stuff out there.
Dopamine is important in many brain processes, including those that generate motivated behavior. Just as with superfoods, be wary of explanations that hinge on a single actor.
An interesting neuroscience tidbit is that many chemicals originally identified as hormones in the gut (e.g. CCK, VIP) also act as neurotransmitters (e.g. in the hypothalamus), further linking the digestive and nervous system.
I would recommend a good cellular neuroscience book so that you will be able to more critically evaluate theories like this. Dopamine is after all a chemical (as are epinephrine and norepinephrine, its monoamine relative) that operates between nerve cells.
Exploring the Brain by Barry Connors or Neuroscience by Purves are the standard "Tntro to Neurosci" texts.
Oooh--my desire to delve into some evolutionary cognitive neuroscience has been growing lately and this book sounds like it could be part of a good start! (I'm totally a layperson who needs help sorting through the studies and theories since I have no background in this stuff, just a fascination with the ideas and implications of them.) I just managed to request a copy through interlibrary loan and I'll update this once it arrives and I have some tentative thoughts.
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