Which are the mechanisms steering our intellectual and emotional life? How do drugs act upon our brain, and what kind of drugs can we expect in the future? Will we get medicines that improve our memory and make us more creative? And what are the differences between a healthy mind and a mind afflicted with schizophrenia or other neuropsychiatric disorders?

 The discoveries made by the author Arvid Carlsson since the nineteen fifties can help us find the answers to these and many other questions concerning our brain. Arvid Carlsson found that nerve cells talk to each other via chemical messengers, among which dopamine plays a vital role. (These discoveries awarded him with the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology in 2000.)

In the latest fifty years the cooperation between the various chemical messengers has been studied in detail, as well as the neuronal network of the nerve fibers. Thanks to this kind of research new possibilities have opened up to find the answers to very old questions too, such as where is the soul located? And is there a connection between creativity and mental disorders?

Results arising from this research area will hopefully also increase our knowledge about the interaction between the mental disturbances and the environment, and provide us with non-pharmacological tools as well, to prevent such disturbances. As a matter of fact recent studies indicate that psychotherapy and psychopharmacological drugs can influence the activity of the brain in a similar way.

Arvid Carlsson is professor emeritus of pharmacology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Lena Carlsson is a science journalist and Arvid Carlsson’s daughter. The illustrations are made by Karin Feltzin, except the cover illustration which is made by the author Lena Carlsson .


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