Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Neuro Concepts and System wide disorders

I have been reading a very interesting article about Theoretical Neuroscience over at the Neurallaws website and have been pondering its implications for a variety of mental states and disorders.

The author states that modern neuroscience theory has problems providing answers to important questions, such as:

1.     Is it correct to search for specific neural circuits within the brain’s mega-network to explain behaviors?
2.      Why can the same neurons be a part of different specific circuits?BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 10:  A real hu...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
3.      What is the role of divergence and convergence, and what is the purpose of parallel circuits?
4.      What is the role of dendritic trees?
5.      Is it adequate to use diagrams in which a functionally similar group of neurons is represented as one element for the purpose of explaining functions or computer simulations?
6.      Why are biological neural networks built the way they are? Classical neuroscience does not address this most fundamental question. There is not even room for this question within the framework of classical conceptual brain views. 

As a layman, I think when you are  looking at things like Autism, ADHD, Sensory Integration problems, psychological disorders, etc.  that reach across a broad swarth of brain function, you are talking about finding the answers to these questions.

He then goes on to pose that another framework to understand these functions.  This framework, based on concepts from technical disciplines such as neurocomputational science (especially neural networks), control theory and mathematics, models brain activity as  control of neuronal automatism by neural optimal control system.

My rather uninformed opinion on this is that such a framework will not capture  the  richness of the relationships between hierarchies, subhierarchies and members of different hierarchies.   I am guessing that models based on ecology which model relationships within an ecosphere, semantic technologies, and emergent systems are going to help provide a richer model for system wide brain functions and malfunctions.

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