Oct 26, 2018

Causally investigating cortical dynamics and signal processing by targeting natural system attractors with precisely timed stimulation.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Dmitriy Lisitsyn, Udo A Ernst

Abstract

Electrical stimulation is a promising tool for interacting with neuronal dynamics to identify neural mechanisms that underlie cognitive function. Since effects of a single short stimulation pulse typically vary greatly and depend on the current network state, many experimental paradigms have rather resorted to continuous or periodic stimulation in order to establish and maintain a desired effect. However, such an approach explicitly leads to forced and 'unnatural' brain activity. Further, continuous stimulation can make it hard to parse the recorded activity and separate neural signal from stimulation artifacts. In this study we propose an alternate strategy: by monitoring a system in realtime, we use the existing preferred states or attractors of the network and to apply short and precise pulses in order to switch between its preferred states. When pushed into one of its attractors, one can use the natural tendency of the system to remain in such a state to prolong the effect of a stimulation pulse, opening a larger window of opportunity to observe the consequences on cognitive processing. To elaborate on this idea, we consider flexible information routing in the visual cortex as a prototypical example. When processing a stimu...Continue Reading

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