Psychoanalysis in the age of neuroscience -  Neuroscience in a nutshell

March 2019
Mapping the brain. A step forward the regional connectivity matrix.

Mapping connections between neurons, from different brain regions, and then drawing an atlas of connectivity  is one of the next challenges for scientists. This challenge was taken upby Professor Partha Mitra, from the RIKEN Center for Brain Science in Japan, who is leading a project to map individual brains onto a common reference atlas, despite their significant individual variation. The study involves the common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus), better for this mapping than both the common mouse and primates (like Macaque), because of its flatter cortexandsmaller brain size, that potentially allow more comprehensive analysis of  neuronal circuitry,furthermoreMarmosets exhibit more developed social behavior (Miller et al., 2016) and vocal communication (Marx, 2016). For many reasons, following the initiative in Europe (HBP- Human Brain Project) and US (BRAIN project), Japan launched the Brain/Minds project as an NHPs (Not Humane Primates) model. Tract-tracing methods are the best way for studying the whole brain, whereas previous studies have been based on literature curation and meta-analysis. Now, for the marmoset, an online database of  more than 140 retrograde tracer injection studies in about 50 cortical areas is available online (

All the studies carried out shed light on both qualitative and quantitative aspects of neural connections. That means building up an ideal data set which would contain the position, morphology, synaptic connectivity together with transmitter/receptor identities at each synapse as well as spatial maps of the diffuse neuro-modulatory transmitters and receptors of every neuron.This mapping could have a great importance for the studies on connectivity and its dysfunctions (in depression, schizophrenia, autism) but each mapping - even if comprehensive mapping was performed in one brain- would still not address the problem of individual variation across brains, which would ideally require doing the same detailed map for many brains.

The authors introduce detailed information about how to address biological variation and display the three- dimensional reconstruction by different stages of image acquisition, showing an accurate parcellation of the brain. The registration process permitted brain surface reconstruction (Video 1), three- dimensional visualizations of projections, and virtual cuts in planes of section other than the original coronal sectionsso as to finally create a brain map of the regional  connectivity matrix.


For further reading please see: 

A high-throughput neurohistological pipeline for brain-wide mesoscale connectivity mapping of the common marmoset.

Meng K. L. , et. al./ Lin et. Al. (2019). eLife, 8:e40042


The video



Rosa Spagnolo

January 2019

Topic 1: Knowledge in Pills
When you surf the web on a neuroscience topic, what will you find first? Everybody seeks information through the internet, psychoanalysts included. Therefore, starting a dialogue between neuroscience and psychoanalysis today means to look through many web proposals. By this fast surfing you gain general information: you look at everything, without going into detail. 

Some surfers spend time going into greater depth and reviewing the concepts "reached" by the internet: most surfers   remain trapped in the network of offers. The "knowledge in pills" feeds many fields, including both neuroscience and psychoanalysis.

Our, question today is: Do you think it is possible to gain new insights from this kind of surfing? Does "viewing" the information by scrolling down a page, really mean "knowledge"? Let's start by visiting the neuroscientific top ten

Top 10 Neuroscience News Stories of 2017
Dec 14, 2017 | by Adam Tozer PhD, Science Writer 

And  the 100 best neuroscience blogs

Or the top ten of neuroscience video: A collection of TED Talks (and more) on the topic of Neuroscience

This heading, neuroscience in a nutshell, will try to navigate among  within the enormous amount a lot of neuroscientific information that invests confronts us every day.  It will  work like be a  function as a scanner, which browses through information, selecting and  offering  presenting web news. 

Any input, suggestion and proposal will be considered. Write us.