Theory of corticothalamic brain activity in a spherical geometry: Spectra, coherence, and correlation

K. N. Mukta, J. N. Maclaurin, P. A. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Corticothalamic neural field theory is applied to a spherical geometry to better model neural activity in the human brain and is also compared with planar approximations. The frequency power spectrum, correlation, and coherence functions are computed analytically and numerically. The effects of cortical boundary conditions and resulting modal aspects of spherical corticothalamic dynamics are explored, showing that the results of spherical and finite planar geometries converge to those for the infinite planar geometry in the limit of large brain size. Estimates are made of the point at which modal series can be truncated and it is found that for physiologically plausible parameters only the lowest few spatial eigenmodes are needed for an accurate representation of macroscopic brain activity. A difference between the geometries is that there is a low-frequency 1/f spectrum in the infinite planar geometry, whereas in the spherical geometry it is 1/f2. Another difference is that the alpha peak in the spherical geometry is sharper and stronger than in the planar geometry. Cortical modal effects can lead to a double alpha peak structure in the power spectrum, although the main determinant of the alpha peak is corticothalamic feedback. In the spherical geometry, the cross spectrum between two points is found to only depend on their relative distance apart. At small spatial separations the low-frequency cross spectrum is stronger than for an infinite planar geometry and the alpha peak is sharper and stronger due to the partitioning of the energy into discrete modes. In the spherical geometry, the coherence function between points decays monotonically as their separation increases at a fixed frequency, but persists further at resonant frequencies. The correlation between two points is found to be positive, regardless of the time lag and spatial separation, but decays monotonically as the separation increases at fixed time lag. At fixed distance the correlation has peaks at multiples of the period of the dominant frequency of system activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number052410
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 21 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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