Is Scientific Literature too difficult to understand?

Here is a summary of chapter 3.7 entitled “The Minicolumnopathy of Autism Spectrum Disorders” from the book The Neuroscience of Autism Spectrum Disorders by  Manuel F. Casanova. I was instructed to read this for a class entitled, “Capstone of Neuroscience”.

Cortical development arises from the epistatic interaction of multiple gene polymorphisms and transcriptional programs, their epigenetic modifications, expression patterns of morphogens and other small molecules, and incipient patterns of synaptic activity, all subject to developmental noise. These mechanisms exhibit redundancy and crosstalk so that a stable phenotypic distribution is maintained in the face of stochastic effects and (epi-)genetic perturbations. The resulting constrained programs of differentiation, migration, and neuronal development provide a basis for emergent patterns of information flow within the developing minicolumn, which may in turn feed back to further refine the formation of its circuits. In autism, our research has shown the existence of supernumerary columns with significant diminution in their peripheral neuropil. This finding, along with descriptions of ‘epigenetic’ heterotopias, suggests a dysregulation of periventricular germinal cell divisions. The heterochronicity of periventricular cell divisions provides an uncoupling between the radial migrating system and the tangential migration of inhibitory elements.



I have studied neuroscience for years and I can hardly understand the summary above.I seriously doubt anyone who isn’t very familiar with mini columns or isn’t an expert on Autism could gain much of anything after reading that paragraph.Is there a problem with this? is it necessary? There has long been a debate about whether scientific journals use too much scientific jargon. Using this jargon makes it easier for trained scientists to know precisely what the author is describing. Although, it renders the research and its conclusions all but impossible for the average person.


About ben james

"The stars keep me up at night" -some song I heard one time Human. Studying the intersection of Neuroscience and Computation. Wanna be (astro) physicist.
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