Conclusions

Catecholamines in the brain act at the highest levels of mental function. Although their role in specific mental disorders is not entirely clear, there is little doubt that they modulate, if not mediate, functions such as processing of associations, integration of thought processes with movement and speech, emotional tone or affect, mood, appetite, arousal, and sleep/wakeful-ness state. Most of these functions have not been successfully modeled in nonhuman species, leaving their study to be carried out in living humans. This limitation has made more than inferential conclusions regarding behavioral and mental function impossible.

New technological advances in functional brain imaging and in studies of gene expression in accessible human cells have opened new windows into the brain, but definitive studies await further advances.

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