Theoretical & Computational Neuroscience | Neuronal & Glial Cell Biology | Neuronal Signaling Mechanisms | Neuroimaging
Neuronal avalanches in the resting MEG of the human brain
Oren Shriki*, Jeff Alstott, Fred Carver, Tom Holroyd, Richard Henson, Marie L Smith, Richard Coppola, Ed Bullmore, Dietmar Plenz
*Corresponding author: Oren Shriki
Section on Critical Brain Dynamics, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
F1000Posters 2012, 3: 551 (poster) [English]
Poster [1.94 MB]
Variance and Invariants in Brain and Behavior meeting 2012, 21 - 23 May 2012, P000
The study addresses a fundamental question in neuroscience: what is the spatiotemporal organization of ongoing cortical activity? Ample data from animal studies have shown that the activity of superficial layers of cortex is characterized by neuronal avalanches, cascades of discrete neural events whose size distribution is organized as a power law with an exponent of -3/2. This phenomenon indicates precisely balanced neural dynamics accurately captured by a critical branching process. However, it is currently not clear whether cortical activity in humans is also critical.
Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we demonstrate for the first time that ongoing cortical activity in humans follows a critical branching process producing neuronal avalanches. These findings provide a specific, quantitative description of resting state activity at millisecond temporal resolution that is couched in a meaningful, generative model.
We investigate the potential of this analysis to provide a biomarker for brain disorders involving imbalance of excitation and inhibition.
No relevant competing interests disclosed.
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