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Neural Circuits can Bridge Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
DOI: 10.3389/neuro.09.081.2009
  • Neuroscience
  • Opinion Article
  • Medicine


3C_fnhum-03-081.indd Frontiers in Human Neuroscience January 2010 | Volume 3 | Article 81 | 1 HUMAN NEUROSCIENCE OPINION ARTICLE published: 20 January 2010 doi: 10.3389/neuro.09.081.2009 Neural circuits can bridge systems and cognitive neuroscience Linda Wilbrecht1* and Daphna Shohamy2** 1 Department of Neurology, Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, Emeryville, CA, USA 2 Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA Correspondence: [email protected]; [email protected] There has been an emerging focus in neuroscience research on circuit-level inter- action between multiple brain regions and behavior. This broad circuit-level approach creates a unique opportunity for conver- gence and collaboration between studies of humans and animal models of cognition. Measurement of broad-scale brain net- works may be particularly important for understanding changes that occur in brain organization and function during develop- ment. Recent studies in humans have gained much leverage from trying to understand circuit-level interactions among brain regions over the course of development. Such studies use connectivity analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging both during cognitive activity and during rest (fcMRI), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to measure (respectively) the func- tional and structural connectivity between discrete brain regions (e.g. Rissman et al., 2004; Snook et al., 2005; Mori and Zhang, 2006; Fox and Raichle, 2007). Studies using these approaches have revealed that, over the course of development, functional con- nectivity increases between distant brain regions (in the rostro-caudal axis) while it decreases between local regions of the fron- tal, parietal, and cingulate cortex (Fair et al., 2008). Developmental trajectories may be altered in diseased brains (e.g., Church et al., 2009), and functional and structural differ- ences in con

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