We were pleased to see your journal prominently address the question of whether long-term potentiation (LTP) is the substrate for memory formation.1 The dogma that the first equals the second has for too long dominated the field in spite of abundant evidence to the contrary (summarized in our review2 and later by other authors).

In counterpoint to the failure to provide a strong linkage between LTP and learning/memory, we note in our review that there is an equally compelling correlation between LTP and pathology. A maintained ("long-term") increase in excitation may lead to neuronal dysfunction and death.

A reexamination of preconceived notions about LTP will better allow researchers to place this phenomenon into its proper context along a continuum of synaptic changes from plastic to pathological.

Jill C. McEachern
C.A. Shaw
Department of Anatomy
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3
  • E. Russo, "Controversy surrounds memory mechanism,"...
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