Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, from our Department of Neurology, kindly sent me this link to a lovely column written by Harvard Medical Student Ishani Ganguli, on her blog Short White Coat, which is posted on the Boston Globe's White Coat Notes.
He, in turn, was prompted to comment:
Basically, given the insights on brain plasticity as an intrinsic property of the brain across the lifespan, it seems that the nervous system might best be viewed as a continuously changing structure of which plasticity is an integral property and the obligatory consequence of each sensory input, motor act, association, reward signal, action plan, or awareness. In this framework, notions such as psychological processes as distinct from organic-based functions or dysfunctions cease to be informative. Behavior will lead to changes in brain circuitry, just as changes in brain circuitry will lead to behavioral modifications.
Leading to the conclusion that, "Psychiatry and neurology do need to come closer together (again), and perhaps we should be thinking of departments (or institutes) of brain health and well being, rather than psych and neuro departments."
I recall similar statements being made several years ago by the former Dean of HMS, Joseph Martin, himself a neurologist. I wonder how psychiatrists and neurologists reading this would react to this hypothesized convergence of the two fields.
For that matter, since even those specialists really don't know for sure, how about the rest of you? Any thoughts, er, feelings, er, instincts, er, analysis on the matter? It makes sense to me, but what do I know? If Alvaro is right, whatever I do know is highly changeable anyway!