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Stimulus-Induced Waves and Breathers in Excitable Neural Media

NSF Award:

Spatio-temporal dynamics and multiple feature maps in primary visual cortex  (University of Utah)

Neural Oscillations and Waves Induced by Local Network Inhomogeneities  (University of Utah)

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Neurological disorders such as epilepsy and migraine are characterized by waves propagating across the surface of the brain.  Spatially coherent activity states are also prevalent during normal brain function. One of the important challenges in theoretical neurobiology is understanding the relationship between spatially structured activity states and the underlying neural circuitry that supports them.  Researchers at the University of Utah have shown that the combined effect of a spatially localized network that is non-uniform and has recurrent synaptic interactions can result in nontrivial forms of spatially coherent oscillations (breathers) and waves. This could arise from external stimuli or reflect changes in the excitability of local populations of neurons. Researchers are currently considering applications of their work to understanding the origins of epilepsy.

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