Oscillations and synchrony in brain dynamics

Master Course in Cognitive Neuroscience and Clinical Neuropsychology (CN2)

Talk: Oscillations and synchrony in brain dynamics

Speaker: Ramon Guevara

University of Padua – School of Psychology  – Via Venezia, 12 – Room 4S

May 12th, 2015 – h. 9.00


Synchronization of oscillatory activity is a widespread phenomenon in nature and the brain is not an exception. Synchronized activity seems to play a crucial role in integration processes in cognition, and several pathologies such as epilepsies and Parkinson diseases show abnormal synchrony. However, synchronization in physical systems is a definite mathematical concept, reflecting coupling between oscillators, whereas the term is more loosely used in neuroscience, typically reflecting some sort of temporal correlation between brain areas. Here, we propose a physically – grounded understanding of synchronization in brain dynamics. We show, for the first time in vivo, that macroscopic neural self-sustained oscillators do exist in the brain, and that simple oscillatory models can describe epileptogenic activity. We also analyze the technical difficulties encountered when measuring synchronization with non-invasive techniques (EEG/MEG), concluding that measured synchronization is not equal to neural synchronization or neural  coupling.