Dynamics of Mammalian Neurons

HARRY R. ERWIN herwin at mason1.gmu.edu
Wed Jul 27 10:03:34 EST 1994

Kevin Spencer (kspencer at iti.org) wrote:
: herwin at mason1.gmu.edu (HARRY R. ERWIN) writes:

: >The mammalian neuron is compartmented by dendritic spines. Each spine 
: >functions in much the same way as a whole invertebrate neuron, so that 1) 
: >the computational capabilities of the mammalian neuron exceed those of 
: >the invertebrate neuron by several orders of magnitude and 2) the 
: >internal dynamics of the dendritic tree are significant in the processing 
: >of the mammalian neuron. [rest of message deleted]

: This is very interesting.  Could you post some references for these
: findings?

This is also a response to Bill Calvin's comment. What you saw in my
posting on dendritic spines was an engineer and/or grad-student getting
over-enthusiatic, rather than a scientist being objective. I have some
notes from a talk that Tom Vogl gave in April, describing his DYSTAL work,
but DYSTAL only assumes some degree of compartmentation in the neuron, not
necessarily down to the level of the individual spine. A possible
reference is Bartlett Mel, 1993, 'Synaptic Integration in an Excitable
Dendritic Tree,' J. Neurophys, 70:1086-1101, September 1993. I'll know 
more by the end of September, after I've done a lab seminar at NIH.

My goal in all this is to build a network model of realistic neurons and
see whether the dynamics seen in Katchalsky nets (mass-action models of
the cortex) carry over. If they do, then we'll have a real leg up on 
understanding how the cortex works. Even if they don't, we should learn 

Harry Erwin
Internet: herwin at gmu.edu 
Just a dumb engineer working on Katchalsky nets....

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