Neuroscience research has grown rapidly in recent years, driven at least in part by the emergence of tools and techniques that enable scientists to pose experimental questions that not long ago would have been unanswerable. Methods for triggering activity in the nervous systems of living animal models have proven particularly useful for mapping networks, probing structure–function relationships, and connecting physiology to behavior. In addition, therapeutically controlling the activity of neurons in patients can offer relief from some diseases. For example, an approach that clinicians use to stimulate neurons deep in the brain to treat Parkinson’s disease has also shown promise for addressing persistent psychiatric disorders such as depression.

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