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HIPPOCAMPUS

 

Puzzle 2:  What equations can define the hippocampus in health and disease?

Solving this puzzle consists of reading several hundred reprints, extracting and standardizing the data, and then fitting them to regression equations.  The challenging part of the solution includes figuring out how to write the local equations for five different animal species - given the scarcity of data.   

Why would anyone want equations for the hippocampus?  What good are they? 

The point of the puzzle is to illustrate what a data-driven biology offers.  Consider the implications of a solution.  If we can write equations for the hippocampus, then we can also write them for any and all structures.  If, for example, these equations change in disease or in response to treatments, then we can define these altered states with variables.  This can tell us - specifically - what changes occur, where and when.  When we want to know the antecedents of a given change, we can unfold the variables, using the drill-down option.  Indeed, equations offer a well-defined experimental strategy for tracking the flow of information between organs and molecules.  Look at this approach from a practical standpoint.  If we can find links between organs and molecules, then we should also be able to find links between the clinical and basic sciences.