Re-analysis raises ghosts in neuroscience

A news story in this week's Nature linkurl:reports;http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070910/full/449124b.html on problems with research that in the last quarter-century has spawned a controversial but influential theory in neurophysiology. According to the theory, neurotransmitter is released at the linkurl:synapse;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15002/ in discrete vesicles, each containing approximately equal amounts of neurotransmitter, and with each synaptic bouton releasing just

Alla Katsnelson
Sep 17, 2007
A news story in this week's Nature linkurl:reports;http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070910/full/449124b.html on problems with research that in the last quarter-century has spawned a controversial but influential theory in neurophysiology. According to the theory, neurotransmitter is released at the linkurl:synapse;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15002/ in discrete vesicles, each containing approximately equal amounts of neurotransmitter, and with each synaptic bouton releasing just one such vesicle at a time. In a letter to the editor in this month's issue of the Journal of Neurophysiology, Jaques Ninio, a biostatistician at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, extracted data from the paper describing the theory, first published 25 years ago by the lab of Henri Korn at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, and reanalyzed it. According to linkurl:Ninio's;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=17846254&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum analysis, Korn's original data had been much too neat, giving clean curves where noisy results were to be expected. Korn, in an linkurl:accompanying;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=798519&ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum letter, brushed off the allegations, stating that Ninio's methods in reanalyzing...
Nature

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?