Basic questions about neurons

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Tue Dec 19 19:59:45 EST 2000

"Mark Pickering" <mpicke at ucd.ie> wrote in message
news:newscache$nlqr5g$rg5$1 at weblab.ucd.ie...
> "Mark Pickering" <mpicke at ucd.ie> wrote in message
> news:newscache$eiqr5g$sd5$1 at weblab.ucd.ie...
> >
> > "Richard Norman" <rsnorman at mediaone.net> wrote in message
> > news:V3e_5.134$ZC4.12725 at typhoon.mw.mediaone.net...
> >
> > >
> > > The classical view of spike trains is that information is primarily
> > > encoded simply in the average frequency of potentials.  There are
> > > cases, as in the control of crustacean muscle, where the synapse
> > > (actually neuromuscular junction) is highly facilitating. In that
> > > patterned activity, as in two or three pulses per burst in a series of
> > > bursts can produce significantly different results from a uniformly
> > > distributed spike train.  Even a single action potential interpolated
> > > into a uniform spike train can make a significant difference.  And
> > > the medial superior olivary nucleus in the mammalian auditory
> > > system is a "coincidence detector" identifying simultaneity of
> > > inputs from the two ears.  It can detect time differences as fine
> > > as 10 microseconds.  So timing does matter.
> >
> > I am very interested in neural coding myself. I wonder do you have a
> > reference for the crustacean muscle work you mentioned. It sounds
> > fascinating.
> >
> >
> Actually, if you know of any other particularly good studies in this area,
> I'd love any information you have.

Sorry to be so long responding.  I haven't been able to find a good
reference for the crustacean muscle but I know I have seen it written
somewhere (and I know I can easily demonstrate it in lab).

Probably the best source is one already mentioned in this thread:
    F. Rieke, D. Warland, R. vanSteveninck and W. Bialek.
    "Spikes: Exploring the Neural Code", MIT Press 1999

A search on "neural spike train" in www.google.com gave
1420 hits.  Some of them have good bibliographies.

Searching for "temporal code" gave 153,000 poorer quality
hits, but did include this one which seems very useful:

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