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Volume 23 Issue 10, October 2020

Dendritic gating of perceptually relevant outputs

Takahashi and colleagues show that a dendritic spike in a specific class of cortical neurons is associated with the ‘moment of perception’ when a stimulus reaches conscious awareness. This is represented artistically as a hot spot (dendritic calcium spike), perhaps created by the sun, on the trunk of a tree (a layer 5 cortical pyramidal neuron), whose roots (the axon) go deep into the earth (targeting subcortical brain areas).

See Takahashi et al.

Image: Thomas Splettstoesser, Cover design: Marina Corral Spence.


  • Horace Basil Barlow, Fellow of the Royal Society, winner of the Australia Prize, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society and the Schwartz Prize of the Society for Neuroscience, died on 5 July 2020 at the age of 98, 10 days after suffering a stroke. As news spread among his former students and collaborators, one phrase recurred again and again in the messages of nostalgic reflection: ‘the end of an era’.

    • Colin Blakemore


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News & Views

  • A new study shows that, immediately after axon injury, glycolysis is increased in Schwann cells to provide axons with energy and prevent them from degenerating. The authors also identify possible therapeutic targets that could be modulated to promote axonal protection.

    • Amelia Trimarco
    • Carla Taveggia
    News & Views
  • Following learning, memories for events are reorganized in a time-dependent manner in distributed hippocampal–cortical networks. While previous studies have focused on neural contributions to this process of systems consolidation, a new study by Kol et al. reveals that astrocytes play crucial modulatory roles in the formation of remote memories.

    • Paul W. Frankland
    • Sheena A. Josselyn
    News & Views
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Review Articles

  • Busche and Hyman review emerging evidence for an interaction between Aβ and tau during Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progression that challenges the classical linear trajectory model and offers a new perspective on AD pathophysiology and therapy.

    • Marc Aurel Busche
    • Bradley T. Hyman
    Review Article
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Brief Communications

  • This study shows that the dorsal hippocampus is necessary for goal-directed action, but only transiently, during initial learning. Convergently, goal-directed actions also depend transiently on the physical context.

    • Laura A. Bradfield
    • Beatrice K. Leung
    • Bernard W. Balleine
    Brief Communication
  • Toren et al. show that outcomes that are better or worse than expected lengthen or shorten the perceived duration of stimuli, respectively, and that this interaction between teaching signals and time perception occurs in the human striatum.

    • Ido Toren
    • Kristoffer C. Aberg
    • Rony Paz
    Brief Communication
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Amendments & Corrections

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