Brain oscillations? Why?
August 29, 2008 1:06 PM Subscribe
Neurosciencefilter: Why does coordinated, oscillatory behavior spontaneously arise in networks of sparsely connected inhibitory neurons? (e.g. theta oscillations in the hippocampus) I know that complex, organized phenomena can arise from simple interactions (e.g. whirlpools down the bathtub drain), but I'm looking for deeper insight. Is there math that "explains" this? Chaos theory?
posted by zeek321 to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Incoming bioengineering/neuroscience grad student, here. I was playing with a super-simple, off the shelf, quasi-biophysical network model in Matlab, and Mr. Postdoc nonchalantly reaches over and tweaks the current level, synaptic weights, and connection statistics, and the silly thing starts robustly oscillating (i.e., all the "neurons" fire together, wait a bit, fire again, and repeat). I mean, huh? What's going on here?
I know this is moving into unsolved neuroscience mysteries territory, but I'm guessing there's some insight there, maybe a lot. Electrical engineering/mathy background. Hit me with the good stuff.
(For me, this was like a lesser version of seeing a message from aliens embedded in the digits of pi. Maybe such a reaction is unwarranted.)