Tuesday, April 16, 2013

1304.3748 (Shan Yu et al.)

Universal Organization of Resting Brain Activity at the Thermodynamic
Critical Point

Shan Yu, Hongdian Yang, Oren Shriki, Dietmar Plenz
Thermodynamic criticality describes emergent phenomena in a wide variety of complex systems. In the mammalian brain, the complex dynamics that spontaneously emerge from neuronal interactions have been characterized as neuronal avalanches, a form of critical branching dynamics. Here, we show that neuronal avalanches also reflect that the brain dynamics are organized close to a thermodynamic critical point. We recorded spontaneous cortical activity in monkeys and humans at rest using high-density intracranial microelectrode arrays and magnetoencephalography, respectively. By numerically changing a control parameter equivalent to thermodynamic temperature, we observed typical critical behavior in cortical activities near the actual physiological condition, including the phase transition of an order parameter, as well as the divergence of susceptibility and specific heat. Finite-size scaling of these quantities allowed us to derive robust critical exponents highly consistent across monkey and humans that uncover a distinct, yet universal organization of brain dynamics.
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.3748

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