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Engineering control theory helps create dynamic brain models
Date:2/19/2013

brain is full of such symmetries as neurons hook themselves up in rings and star patterns.

"But 10 billion neurons produce a number of possible networks that no one wants to think about," said Schiff. "Luckily, in the brain, internet or power grid we can begin to take symmetries into account. We don't need to go and specify all the particulars about how things are connected, but take advantage of the underlying symmetries in those networks and produce representative networks."

In essence, complicated networks can be boiled down to the simpler networks that represent what the complicated ones do. Brain symmetry permits synchrony to arise, and this is critical since synchronies are so important to both the normal and abnormal function of brain networks.

Recording from just one electrode from the brain is very limiting. Researchers and clinicians now use arrays of 100 or more electrodes to study epilepsy, but technology will soon provide the capability of deploying a 1,000 or more electrodes that, when fused with models, will enable us to reconstruct activity more deeply into the nervous system.

"The pathologies of epilepsy or Parkinson's disease, we think are very 'simple,' compared with many more complex activities we perform in our brains, " said Schiff. "If they have more synchrony than normal they might produce really good reconstructions when fused with models."

These simplified models are important not just for these specific diseases, but because a fidelity model of the brain, one that models everything in detail, would be impossible to create. In addition, such large-scale models would be very inaccurate if used in such a control-engineering framework. If Parkinson's disease, epilepsy or migraines can be modeled more simply and still be accurate, then other brain pathologies or functions might also be modeled and controlled with simplified models.

The mechanism underneath migraine headaches is a very slow
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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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