Publication: Metabifurcation analysis of a mean field model of the cortex

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Title Metabifurcation analysis of a mean field model of the cortex
Authors/Editors* F. Frascoli, L. van Veen, I. Bojak and D. Liley
Where published* Phys. D
How published* Journal
Year* 2011
Volume 240
Number 11
Pages 949-962
Publisher Elsevier
Keywords Bifurcation analysis; Brain dynamics; Mean field model; Electroencephalogram (EEG); Anesthesia; Thalamus
Mean field models (MFMs) of cortical tissue incorporate salient, average features of neural masses in order to model activity at the population level, thereby linking microscopic physiology to macroscopic observations, e.g., with the electroencephalogram (EEG). One of the common aspects of MFM descriptions is the presence of a high-dimensional parameter space capturing neurobiological attributes deemed relevant to the brain dynamics of interest. We study the physiological parameter space of a MFM of electrocortical activity and discover robust correlations between physiological attributes of the model cortex and its dynamical features. These correlations are revealed by the study of bifurcation plots, which show that the model responses to changes in inhibition belong to two archetypal categories or “families”. After investigating and characterizing them in depth, we discuss their essential differences in terms of four important aspects: power responses with respect to the modeled action of anesthetics, reaction to exogenous stimuli such as thalamic input, and distributions of model parameters and oscillatory repertoires when inhibition is enhanced. Furthermore, while the complexity of sustained periodic orbits differs significantly between families, we are able to show how metamorphoses between the families can be brought about by exogenous stimuli. We here unveil links between measurable physiological attributes of the brain and dynamical patterns that are not accessible by linear methods. They instead emerge when the nonlinear structure of parameter space is partitioned according to bifurcation responses. We call this general method “metabifurcation analysis”. The partitioning cannot be achieved by the investigation of only a small number of parameter sets and is instead the result of an automated bifurcation analysis of a representative sample of 73,454 physiologically admissible parameter sets. Our approach generalizes straightforwardly and is well suited to probing the dynamics of other models with large and complex parameter spaces.
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