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Constantinople CM, Bruno RM. Deep cortical layers are activated directly by thalamus. Science . 2013 Jun 28 ; 340(6140):1591-4. PubMed Abstract

Comments on Paper and Primary News
Comment by:  John Lisman
Submitted 31 July 2013 Posted 31 July 2013

A New Era Opens for Understanding the Cellular Basis of Cortical Function
If you want to fix a broken brain, it would be helpful to know how it works. Toward this end, there has been substantial progress in understanding some brain regions. For instance, the field of memory research is now driven by very specific models about the function of the different hippocampal subregions (e.g., dentate, CA3, CA1). Similarly, in the striatum there has been impressive recent research testing very specific ideas about the function of the direct and indirect pathways in action selection. But by comparison, the cortex remains a black box. Although it has been known since the earliest anatomical investigations that the cortex is subdivided into cell layers, little has materialized that provides insight into the function of these layers. The canonical view, based primarily on anatomical considerations, has been that input to cortex occurs in layer 4; this information is sent to layers 2/3, which then send it to layers 5 and 6, the output layers of a cortex. But in terms of showing...  Read more

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