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Neuron. 2014 Nov 5;84(3):638-54. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.018. Epub 2014 Nov 5.

Computational psychiatry.

Author information

1
NYU-ECNU Institute of Brain and Cognitive Science, NYU-Shanghai, Shanghai, China; Center for Neural Science, New York University, 4 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA; Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. Electronic address: xjwang@nyu.edu.
2
Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, 300 George Street, Suite #901, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Psychiatry Service, Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT 06510, USA; Clinical Neuroscience Division, VA National Center for PTSD, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT 06516, USA.

Abstract

Psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, arise from abnormalities in brain systems that underlie cognitive, emotional, and social functions. The brain is enormously complex and its abundant feedback loops on multiple scales preclude intuitive explication of circuit functions. In close interplay with experiments, theory and computational modeling are essential for understanding how, precisely, neural circuits generate flexible behaviors and their impairments give rise to psychiatric symptoms. This Perspective highlights recent progress in applying computational neuroscience to the study of mental disorders. We outline basic approaches, including identification of core deficits that cut across disease categories, biologically realistic modeling bridging cellular and synaptic mechanisms with behavior, and model-aided diagnosis. The need for new research strategies in psychiatry is urgent. Computational psychiatry potentially provides powerful tools for elucidating pathophysiology that may inform both diagnosis and treatment. To achieve this promise will require investment in cross-disciplinary training and research in this nascent field.

PMID:
25442941
PMCID:
PMC4255477
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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