The description of interactions among various brain signals
represents only an initial step. One workshop goal was to
consider new bridging approaches for research. Molecular biology
may provide the key. The investigators who participated in
the HFG workshop are among those who have helped advance the
field through methodologies that span sophisticated neuroanatomical,
pharmacological, biochemical, and other cytological methods.
Yet this body of work is limited in its implications because
it is correlational. In fact, it will be essential to explore
the molecular bases for these interactions, raising the need
for broadened training if we are to see truly substantive
progress. These considerations, discussed in the workshop
setting, pointed to the need for the development of multi-disciplinary
groups to assess the neurobiology of aggression. This was
recognized as an important feature of contemporary science
and an approach the Guggenheim Foundation was in a unique
position to foster.
There is a significant opportunity for investigators seeking
to elucidate the neurobiology of animal and human aggression,
one that requires integration and effective communication.
Building bridges between basic and clinical scientists is
a powerful means for advancing potential treatment strategies.
Psychopharmacological and molecular biological tools now allow
us to define cellular machinery and, in the near future, imaging
technologies may well allow us to see cellular events in real
time. The key issue is not one of scientific talent or resources,
it is overcoming the parallelism that has accompanied the
demands of highly specialized contemporary science. It is
incumbent on investigators working on neural and chemical
mechanisms underlying aggression to promote cross-fertilization
of ideas with clinical scientists. Regardless of orientation,
investigators stand to benefit enormously from these exchanges,
with emerging concepts improving opportunities for the development
of effective intervention strategies.
This article is based on a H. F. Guggenheim workshop meeting,
"Insight through Understanding: Bridging Basic and Clinical
Neuroscience Approaches to Aggression," held in Toledo,
Spain, in January, 1996. The authors were the conference organizers.
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