Modeling Phase Transitions in the Brain



Modeling Phase Transitions in the Brain
ISBN: 1441907955 | edition 2010 | File type: PDF | 325 pages | 12,1 mb

The induction of unconsciousness using anesthetic agents demonstrates that the cerebral cortex can operate in two very different behavioral modes: alert and responsive vs. unaware and quiescent. But the states of wakefulness and sleep are not single-neuron properties-they emerge as bulk properties of cooperating populations of neurons, with the switchover between states being similar to the physical change of phase observed when water freezes or ice melts. Some brain-state transitions, such as sleep cycling, anesthetic induction, epileptic seizure, are obvious and detected readily with a few EEG electrodes; others, such as the emergence of gamma rhythms during cognition, or the ultra-slow BOLD rhythms of relaxed free-association, are much more subtle. The unifying theme of this book is the notion that all of these bulk changes in brain behavior can be treated as phase transitions between distinct brain states.

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