question: job of a neuron - wavelets revisited...

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Thu Sep 13 15:29:50 EST 2001

On 13 Sep 2001 20:17:46 GMT, meshinder at aol.com (MEShinder) wrote:

>I'm still trying to understand this better. The temporal code of spikes carried
>on a given neuron possiblly carries information, as does the spatiotemporal
>pattern of spike times between neurons (see work of Gerstein, Aertsen, Fetz,
>Deadwyler, McNaughton and the like). Also information is coded in the temporal
>wave of activity as can be demonstrated by peristimulus histograms and
>prediction functions on neuron firing in most regions of the brain where such
>efforts have been applied. 
>So waves may be composed of patterns, and as waves travel around in highly
>structured neuronal pathways from region to region they create more waves and
>patterns. To interpret all this their seems like there would have to be an
>organizing principle. The brain is not homogenous or random, but not rigid or
>absolutely genetic in all of its architecture either. 
>What is the current thinking regarding how regionalized emmergent functions
>develop into larger or meta-functions? I can conceptualize how patterns can
>regulate processing through gating and state functions, but how would waves do
>this? I understand how waves could enhance binding and input decomposition, but
>could a pattern not constituting a wave do the same?
>I don't mean to get into the particle/wave conundrum, and I may be missing some
>aspect or perspective on this, so  any help would be appreciated.

Everyone is trying to understand this better.  We know a great deal
about how individual neurons work.  We know a great deal about how
they influence each other's activity.  And clearly, the ensemble of
activity in space and time is important in carrying information.  But
just how is the puzzlement.

There are people who develop mathematical models (or computer or other
forms) which can be useful in indicating what might be possible and in
generating directions for experimental work.  There are other people
who make such models and who claim that these are the true answer.
But there is a big difference between showing that cell can behave
like models and that models can behave like people and claiming that
that must be the way it is.  The problem is that there are a
tremendous number of alternative possibilities that might also explain
the way it is.  And neuroscience must be able to select the one
explanation that really fits the experimental data on what actual
neurons do.

So getting off into wave space is, for my tastes, getting rather far
away from what we can observe as reality in real brains.  Other people
have rather different tastes.  Chacon a son gout!

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net