Does Neuroscience need a Newton? | The Scicurious Brain, Scientific American Blog Network

Further to my earlier post on the limits of neuroscience, particularly its popularization and over attribution (Neuroscience – Under Attack), a good piece on the limits of neuroscience and the complexity of the human brain by Scicurious. Quote:

If there was a neuroscience Newton, they existed back when we were first discovering the building blocks. Ramón y Cajal, who first described the neuron as the fundamental unit of the nervous system. Ferrier, who showed that parts of the brain correlated with motor activity. There are many others. But even these are not really neuroscience Newtons. They are not because as we gain more and more knowledge of the brain, we are able to see: there is no unifying theory of the brain. I do not think that we will ever be able to predict an overall production of behavior from a random network of neurons. Yes, we will be able to show what particular networks of neurons do. We will be able to specify (someday, hopefully soon!), how particular networks interact, how they change in response to stimuli, and how they produce behaviors. We will be able to show (and are able to show already) how modification of DNA via epigenetic mechanisms can change the “behavior” of a neuron. We are able to show how certain receptor modifications can change behaviors, can change circuitry. And we can use this ever-growing knowledge base of design new treatments, to apply new drugs or old drugs to new problems.

Does Neuroscience need a Newton? | The Scicurious Brain, Scientific American Blog Network.

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