McDermott's book about neuroscientist's Gary Lynch's decades long research into Long-Term Poteniation. LTP is the strengthening of connections between brain cells that occures when they communicate, making subsequent communication more likely. The book gives the reader an keen appreciation on just how arduous and uncertain biological lab research is. It seems the brain's placiticity allows the growth of new "spines" on the dendrites of neurons, and these changes may be behind how memories are made and stored and even how thought is manufactured.
Lynch's quest is to find the actual structual changes in the celluar circuits that encode memory. Along the way he discovers ampakine, a class of drugs designed to enhance communication between brain cells. If they work as envisioned, the drugs, still in development, would enhance almost all cognitive activities. They may be a new drug to treat memory loss and perhaps even mood disorders.