Commentary

Filter by:

  • Moser, Moser and McNaughton provide a historical overview describing how ideas about integration of self-motion cues have shaped our understanding of spatial representation in hippocampal–entorhinal systems, from the discovery of place cells in the 1970s to contemporary studies of spatial coding in intermingled and interacting cell types within complex circuits.

    • Edvard I Moser
    • May-Britt Moser
    • Bruce L McNaughton
    Commentary
  • Computational techniques are central in many areas of neuroscience and are relatively easy to share. This paper describes why computer programs underlying scientific publications should be shared and lists simple steps for sharing. Together with ongoing efforts in data sharing, this should aid reproducibility of research.

    • Stephen J Eglen
    • Ben Marwick
    • Jean-Baptiste Poline
    Commentary
  • Responding to widespread concerns about reproducibility, the Organization for Human Brain Mapping created a working group to identify best practices in data analysis, results reporting and data sharing to promote open and reproducible research in neuroimaging. We describe the challenges of open research and the barriers the field faces.

    • Thomas E Nichols
    • Samir Das
    • B T Thomas Yeo
    Commentary
  • Recent technological advancements in the study of neural circuits provide reasons to be optimistic that novel treatments for psychiatric illnesses are just around the corner. Maximizing the chances of translating these advancements into real improvements in patient care requires a carefully considered road map.

    • Joshua A Gordon
    Commentary
  • Refined social phenotyping of syndromic and idiopathic forms of autism, combined with advances in genetics, animal models of syndromes and brain imaging, may facilitate discovery of shared brain mechanisms that will lead to new treatments. The reversal of social deficits in animal models is promising for eventual translation into therapeutics.

    • James C Harris
    Commentary
  • The Psychiatric Genomics Consortium is aiming to analyze data from >1 million individuals. This is already leading to hundreds of new genetic findings across psychiatric disorders with the potential to restart largely stalled psychiatric drug development pipelines. This paper outlines key questions and plans to translate findings into new therapeutics.

    • Gerome Breen
    • Qingqin Li
    • Howard J Edenberg
    Commentary
  • Primatology research suggests that other primates suffer from crippling depression or anxiety, implying that these diseases' roots pre-date human history. At the same time, some realms of psychiatry remain uniquely human. Recognizing the similarities and dissimilarities between us and other primates is essential in studying animal models of psychiatric disease.

    • Robert M Sapolsky
    Commentary
  • Theoretical approaches have long shaped neuroscience, but current needs for theory are elevated and prospects for advancement are bright. Advances in measuring and manipulating neurons demand new models and analyses to guide interpretation. Advances in theoretical neuroscience offer new insights into how signals evolve across areas and new approaches for connecting population activity with behavior. These advances point to a global understanding of brain function based on a hybrid of diverse approaches.

    • Anne K Churchland
    • L F Abbott
    Commentary
  • Recent research on disparate psychiatric disorders has implicated rare variants in genes involved in global gene regulation and chromatin modification, as well as many common variants located primarily in regulatory regions of the genome. Understanding precisely how these variants contribute to disease will require a deeper appreciation for the mechanisms of gene regulation in the developing and adult human brain. The PsychENCODE project aims to produce a public resource of multidimensional genomic data using tissue- and cell type–specific samples from approximately 1,000 phenotypically well-characterized, high-quality healthy and disease-affected human post-mortem brains, as well as functionally characterize disease-associated regulatory elements and variants in model systems. We are beginning with a focus on autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and expect that this knowledge will apply to a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. This paper outlines the motivation and design of PsychENCODE.

    • Schahram Akbarian
    • Chunyu Liu
    • Nenad Sestan
    Commentary
  • It is a truism that the brain influences the body and that peripheral physiology influences the brain. Never is this clearer than during stress, where the subtlest emotions or the most abstract thoughts can initiate stress responses, with consequences throughout the body, and the endocrine transducers of stress alter cognition, affect and behavior. For a fervent materialist, few things in life bring more pleasure than contemplating the neurobiology of stress.

    • Robert M Sapolsky
    Commentary
  • Neuroscience is poised to collect Big Data sets. In this Commentary, the authors argue that, to exploit its full potential, there need to be ways to standardize, integrate and synthesize diverse types of data and that this will require a cultural shift to a central role for theorists in neuroscience research.

    • Terrence J Sejnowski
    • Patricia S Churchland
    • J Anthony Movshon
    Commentary
  • In this Commentary, Martone and colleagues discuss the potential benefits of sharing small datasets, also called “long-tail” data, in the Neuroscience community. They introduce the pros and cons associated with data sharing, describe the existing attitudes toward such initiative, introduce best practices and offer their views on why and how the field should establish a credit system for sharing “long-tail” data.

    • Adam R Ferguson
    • Jessica L Nielson
    • Maryann E Martone
    Commentary
  • A recent New Jersey Supreme Court decision has led to new jury instructions explaining that memory does not operate like a video recording. The authors discuss cognitive neuroscience research on memory and how it might contribute in the courtroom.

    • Daniel L Schacter
    • Elizabeth F Loftus
    Commentary
  • As long-awaited advances in psychiatric genetics begin to materialize in force, promising to steer us safely to the best of times in psychiatric disease research, many pharmaceutical companies pull away from the challenge of drug development, threatening to bring us to the worst of times for the field. There is a real danger of missed opportunities and a sense of urgency for defining a clear path forward.

    • Maria Karayiorgou
    • Jonathan Flint
    • Gerald D Fischbach
    Commentary
  • Neuroscience seeks to understand how neural circuits lead to behavior. However, the gap between circuits and behavior is too wide. An intermediate level is one of neural computations, which occur in individual neurons and populations of neurons. Some computations seem to be canonical: repeated and combined in different ways across the brain. To understand neural computations, we must record from a myriad of neurons in multiple brain regions. Understanding computation guides research in the underlying circuits and provides a language for theories of behavior.

    • Matteo Carandini
    Commentary
  • This commentary provides a nuanced discussion on the conceptual framework to study epigenetic mechanisms that regulate brain function and plasticity. By drawing from examples in genomic imprinting, the authors highlight the challenges facing epigenetics research in the context of neuroscience.

    • Michael J Meaney
    • Anne C Ferguson-Smith
    Commentary
  • The small size and high resistance of C. elegans neurons makes them sensitive to the random opening of single ion channels, probably rendering codes that are based on classical, all-or-none action potentials unworkable. The recent discovery in C. elegans of a special class of regenerative events known as plateau potentials introduces the possibility of digital neural codes. Such codes would solve the problem of representing information in nervous systems in which action potentials are unreliable.

    • Shawn R Lockery
    • Miriam B Goodman
    Commentary
  • One of the most difficult problems in treating addiction is not withdrawing addicts from drugs, but preventing relapse. Persistent neuroadaptations are thought to underlie aspects of addiction, including relapse. This commentary assesses the degree to which these neuroadaptations, primarily identified in preclinical studies on cocaine, induce relapse.

    • Yavin Shaham
    • Bruce T Hope
    Commentary
  • Although many drug-induced neural changes are known, progress has been slow in identifying the ones that actually mediate addiction. Identifying changes that are specific to particular elements of the transition from initial to habitual to relapsing drug use may be a fruitful strategy for pinpointing which forms of drug-induced plasticity are critical for addiction.

    • Peter W Kalivas
    Commentary