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By Lennart Heimer; et al

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Extra info for Anatomy of neuropsychiatry : the new anatomy of the basal forebrain and its implications for neuropsychiatric illness

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The field of chemical neuroanatomy features its own scientific journal and a Handbook of Chemical Neuroanatomy, with more than 20 volumes published so far. As reflected in many parts of this book, it is difficult to overestimate the importance of chemical neuroanatomy in the field of neuropsychiatry, especially since the methods used are often applicable not only to experimental animal brains but also to postmortem human brains. 18 ANATOMY OF NEUROPSYCHIATRY In the 1970s, anterograde and retrograde labeling techniques replaced the silver staining as the methods of choice in experimental tract-tracing.

In conclusion, it is tempting to reiterate Brodal’s wry warning that the increasingly inclusive nature of the limbic system in the end makes it a less useful guide to the analysis and study of emotional functions (Brodal, 1969). Indeed, the tide may soon turn in favor of Brodal’s suggestion to abandon the limbic system concept, if it hasn’t already. 3 NEW ANATOMICAL DISCOVERIES PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE LIMBIC SYSTEM We will add our voice to the growing chorus questioning the usefulness of the limbic system as a guide in modern neuroscience research and psychiatry.

The distinction, however, may no longer be a problem, since with the gradual expansion of the limbic system, definitions of its functions have broadened considerably. Representative reflections of this are apparent in statements such as those posing the limbic system—for example, as “a determinant of the organism’s attitude toward its environment” (Nauta and Feirtag, 1986) or declaring that its main function (singular) is “adaptation, including homeostasis, response to physiological or behavioral demand, and reproduction” (Herbert, 1997).

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