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Title: Relating macroscopic measures of brain activity to fast dynamic neuronal interactions
Author: Chawla, Dave
ISNI:       0000 0001 3530 7393
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1999
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The aim of this thesis was to find a systematic relationship between neuronal synchrony and firing rates, that would enable us to make inferences about one given knowledge of the other. Functional neuroimaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are sensitive to changes in overall population synaptic activity, that can be interpreted in terms of rate coding for a particular stimulus or task. Characterising the relationship between synchrony and firing rates would facilitate inferences about fast neuronal interactions on the basis of macroscopic measures such as those obtained by fMRI. In this thesis, we used computer simulations of neuronal networks and fMRI in humans to investigate the relationship between mean synaptic activity and fast synchronous neuronal interactions. We found that the extent to which different neurons engage in fast dynamic interactions is largely dependent on the neuronal population firing rates and vice versa, i.e. as one metric changes (either activity or synchrony), so does the other. Additionally, as a result of the strong coupling between overall activity and neuronal synchrony, there is also a robust relationship between background activity and stimulus-evoked activity: Increased background activity increases the gain of the neurons, by decreasing effective membrane time constants, and enhancing stimulus-evoked population activity through the selection of fast synchronous dynamics. In concluding this thesis, we tested and confirmed, with fMRI in humans, that this mechanism may account for attentional modulation, i.e. the change in baseline neuronal firing rates associated with attention, in cell assemblies selectively responding to an attended sensory attribute, enhances responses elicited by presentation of that attribute.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available