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Information transmission and communication in brain circuits (Mirasso, Valizadeh)


The question of how the brain integrates the mutiplicity of local processes dispersed through its entire anatomy is a fundamental question in neuroscience. Any single cognitive function may involve several specialized areas whose association is mediated by the functional integration among them. Such integration is mediated by information exchange between brain areas through the routes which can change in fast timescales over which the structure is fixed, providing a flexible effective connectivity despite the rigidity of the infrastructure over fast timescales. The flexibility of the information routing and dynamic effective connectivity are a consequence of the multistability of the collective dynamics of the brain networks. In other words, a single structural connectivity can support plenty of degenerate dynamical states for each of which a special pattern of information transfer between the nodes is observed. Neuronal collective oscillations are hypothesized to provide such a basis for the dynamics communication between brain regions. Several lines of experimental evidences and theoretical arguments indicate that the phase relations between the oscillations of different brain regions can alter effective connectivity by modulating the gain of mutual influence between them. In this workshop the notion of information transfer in brain circuits and the role of brain rhythms in providing a dynamic effective communication network will be reviewed and the latest theoretical and experimental achievements will be presented.

Despite to fundamental role of flexible inter-areal brain communication in cognitive functions, the basis of dynamic information routing remains unclear and the mechanisms that underlie the fast reconfiguration of selective information routing over behavioral time-scales are poorly understood. The collection of speakers present latest advancement of the field and discuss the effect of cortical infrastructure, multi-stability, heterogeneity, transient synchrony, cross-frequency coupling, hierarchical dynamics and plasticity in the brain networks.