Seeds of Science is a journal (funded through Scott Alexander's ACX grants program) that publishes speculative or non-traditional articles on scientific topics. Peer review is conducted through community-based voting and commenting by a diverse network of reviewers (or "gardeners" as we call them); top comments are published after the main text of the manuscript. 

We have just sent out an article for review that may be of interest to some in the LessWrong community, so I wanted to see if anyone - particularly those with a background in neuroscience - would be interested in joining us as a gardener providing feedback on the article. It is free to join and anyone is welcome (we currently have gardeners from all levels of academia and outside of it). Participation is entirely voluntary - we send you submitted articles and you can choose to vote/comment or abstain without notification (so it's no worries if you don't plan on reviewing very often but just want to take a look here and there at the articles people are submitting). 

To register, you can fill out this google form. From there, it's pretty self-explanatory - I will add you to the mailing list and send you an email that includes the manuscript, our publication criteria, and a simple review form for recording votes/comments. If you would like to just take a look at this article without being added to the mailing list, then just reach out ( and say so. 

Happy to answer any questions about the journal through email or in the comments below. Here is the abstract for the article. 

Perspective: Focused-Ultrasound Guided Neuropeptide Delivery as a Novel Therapeutic Approach in Psychiatry

Although drugs are a critical component of mental healthcare, most have modest benefits and significant side effects. One way to develop a superior intervention would be to administer drugs with the spatial and temporal precision that better replicates natural diversity within neurotransmitter systems. A technology called focused-ultrasound (FU) may be able to safely and transiently disrupt the blood-brain barrier with spatial precision, permitting the site-specific delivery of molecules that do not conventionally cross the blood-brain barrier. If this method is proven to be safe and effective in larger human trials, it may trigger a paradigm shift in biopsychology research where the level of precision with which neurotransmitter systems can be influenced is massively increased. In this article, we use the example of oxytocin in the treatment of Autism. We propose that intranasal administration is not highly effective because it leads to oxytocin’s wide dispersion throughout the brain, failing to specifically stimulate oxytocin’s prosocial effects in specific regions. Consequently, we hypothesize that site-specific delivery of oxytocin, particularly in brain regions such as the Nucleus Accumbens and Ventral Tegmental Area, would lead to more consistent benefits.


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1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 8:48 PM

Maybe this is addressed in the article (or the literature), but whenever I see proposals to use ultrasound in the brain regularly over the long term, noting that it breaks the blood-brain barrier, I always think to myself, “Umm, isn’t the blood-brain barrier there for a reason??? What kinds of crap is the BBB normally keeping out of the brain, and maybe I should be worried if it doesn’t???”

(Not that that’s definitely a problem, I’m just asking the question.) (Apart from that, seems like a worthwhile thing to try, from what little I know.)