[Neuroscience] Re: Q's about the distribution and roles of spiking neurons in the brain

r norman NotMyRealEmail at _comcast.net
Mon Jul 3 09:23:54 EST 2006

On 3 Jul 2006 05:47:53 -0700, borg at swirve.com wrote:

>Hi all,
>I've only recently started reading about spiking neurons.  One of the
>first papers I read was "Which Model to Use for Cortical Spiking
>Neurons" by Izhikevich, which illustrates the spiking behaviour of 20
>different types of biological spiking neurons.  However, what I haven't
>been able to discover with my preliminary reading is whether specific
>types of spiking neurons are localized to specific areas of the brain
>or whether all types are distributed evenly.  In addition, I have not
>been able to find anything definate about specific functional roles of
>the various types of spiking neuron behavior in the brain, either
>singularly or in combination.
>So, where should I go next?  Do my questions even have known or
>theorized answers?  Any good references, papers, or books that are
>recommended for further reading?  

The twenty types of neurons described by  Izhikevich are abstract
objects defined in terms of artificial (computational) neurons.  They
do show features exhibited to one degree or another and in differing
combinations in real neurons.  Real neurons also show other more
complex behavior, such as a tremendous amount of "microcircuitry"
mediated purely by local, graded, non-spiking activity, not to mention
plasticity including the ability to change from one Izhikevich
category to another.

In other words, it really doesn't make any sense to try to categorize
Izhikevich types to specific brain areas or functions because
biological neurons are not divided specifically into those types.  It
is useful to see what kinds of unanticipated "behavior" is produced by
computational circuits composed of Izhikevich types and it is useful
to consider what kinds of Izhikevich categories of behavior are
exhibited by particular biological neurons and how those particular
aspects of their behavior contribute to their function.

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