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Heightened interest in sensory function in persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents an unprecedented opportunity for impactful, interdisciplinary work between neuroscientists and clinical practitioners for whom sensory processing is a focus. In spite of this promise, and a number of overlapping perspectives on sensory function in persons with ASD, neuroscientists and clinical practitioners are faced with significant practical barriers to transcending disciplinary silos. These barriers include divergent goals, values, and approaches that shape each discipline, as well as different lexical conventions. This commentary is itself an interdisciplinary effort to describe the shared perspectives, and to conceptualize a framework that may guide future investigation in this area. We summarize progress to date and issue a call for clinical practitioners and neuroscientists to expand cross-disciplinary dialogue and to capitalize on the complementary strengths of each field to unveil the links between neural and behavioral manifestations of sensory differences in persons with ASD. Joining forces to face these challenges in a truly interdisciplinary way will lead to more clinically informed neuroscientific investigation of sensory function, and better translation of those findings to clinical practice. Likewise, a more coordinated effort may shed light not only on how current approaches to treating sensory processing differences affect brain and behavioral responses to sensory stimuli in individuals with ASD, but also on whether such approaches translate to gains in broader characteristics associated with ASD. It is our hope that such interdisciplinary undertakings will ultimately converge to improve assessment and interventions for persons with ASD. Autism Res 2016, 9: 920-925. © 2016 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
© 2016 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Dr Conn is the Lee E Limbird Professor of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University and Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD). Dr Conn received a PhD in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt in 1986 and pursued postdoctoral studies at Yale University. He served as a professor of Pharmacology at Emory University from 1988 to 2000, before moving to Merck and Co. (PA, USA) as head of the Department of Neuroscience. Dr Conn moved to Vanderbilt University in 2003 where he is the founding director of the VCNDD, with a primary mission of facilitating translation of recent advances in basic science to novel therapeutics. The VCNDD consists of approximately 100 full-time scientists and has advanced novel molecules from four major programs as development candidates for clinical testing with industry partners. Dr Conn has served in editorial positions with multiple international journals and has served the scientific advisory boards of multiple foundations and companies. He has received numerous awards based on the impact of his basic and translational research. Dr Conn's current research is focused on development of novel treatment strategies for schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and other serious brain disorders. Interview conducted by Hannah Coaker, Assistant Commissioning Editor.
Anhedonia is a core symptom of major depressive disorder (MDD), the neurobiological mechanisms of which remain poorly understood. Despite decades of speculation regarding the role of dopamine (DA) in anhedonic symptoms, empirical evidence has remained elusive, with frequent reports of contradictory findings. In the present review, we argue that this has resulted from an underspecified definition of anhedonia, which has failed to dissociate between consummatory and motivational aspects of reward behavior. Given substantial preclinical evidence that DA is involved primarily in motivational aspects of reward, we suggest that a refined definition of anhedonia that distinguishes between deficits in pleasure and motivation is essential for the purposes of identifying its neurobiological substrates. Moreover, bridging the gap between preclinical and clinical models of anhedonia may require moving away from the conceptualization of anhedonia as a steady-state, mood-like phenomena. Consequently, we introduce the term "decisional anhedonia" to address the influence of anhedonia on reward decision-making. These proposed modifications to the theoretical definition of anhedonia have implications for research, assessment and treatment of MDD.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Content differentiation models posit that different areas of the prefrontal cortex perform similar operations but differ in terms of the content that is operated on. For example, it has been suggested that the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) perform similar working memory or inhibitory operations, but on different types of content (e.g., reward versus spatial or feature-based versus abstract). In contrast to the above models, process differentiation models posit that different areas of the prefrontal cortex perform fundamentally different operations. Surprisingly, discussions of these dueling models rarely incorporate information about anatomy. The only exception is that advocates of content differentiation models appropriately note that different parts of the prefrontal cortex receive different afferents. Yet, an examination of the anatomy of the OFC and the DLPFC reveal numerous differences in cortical structure and interneuron composition. These structural differences necessitate that the OFC and the DLPFC will have strikingly different computational features. Given such computational differences, strong versions of content differentiation models are untenable. While overarching themes may help explain the operations in both the OFC and the DLPFC, the specific operations performed in the two regions are likely to be both quantitatively and qualitatively different in nature.
The direct analysis of tissues using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) enables both endogenous and exogenous compounds present in tissues to be detected with molecular specificity while maintaining their spatial orientation. This unique combination, coupled with excellent sensitivity and rapid analysis time, presents many potential advantages to a wide range of applications in diverse biological fields. Recent advances have shown how the technique can be applied to cancer research, neuroscience and pharmaceutical development. Examples include the use of unique protein profiles to classify human tumor tissues and predict patient outcomes, the discovery of protein changes in mouse cerebellum as a function of development, and the two-dimensional visualization of the distribution of a drug and first-pass metabolites in rat whole-body sections.
In this special issue of Visual Neuroscience , we present a series of papers to honor the life and career of Robert William Rodieck, who passed away at his home in Seattle on September 30, 2003. Rodieck held the E.K. Bishop Professorship in Ophthalmology at the University of Washington Medical Center from 1978-1997. Known to everyone as "Bob," he leaves behind an intellectual legacy often admired by his colleagues and friends for its scope, intensity, and empathy for what was beautiful in the object of his studies.
Cognitive neuroscience is motivated by the precept that a discoverable correspondence exists between mental states and brain states. This precept seems to be supported by remarkable observations and conclusions derived from event-related potentials and functional imaging with humans and neurophysiology with behaving monkeys. This review evaluates specific conceptual and technical limits of claims of correspondence between neural events, overt behavior, and hypothesized covert processes examined using data on the neural control of saccadic eye movements.
Making sense of microarray data is a complex process, in which the interpretation of findings will depend on the overall experimental design and judgement of the investigator performing the analysis. As a result, differences in tissue harvesting, microarray types, sample labelling and data analysis procedures make post hoc sharing of microarray data a great challenge. To ensure rapid and meaningful data exchange, we need to create some order out of the existing chaos. In these ground-breaking microarray standardization and data sharing efforts, NIH agencies should take a leading role