Synchronizing remote neurons
Raul Vicente and colleagues have published intriguing results of their simulations of simple networks of neurons. They demonstrate how distant groups of neurons can self-organize so that they fire synchronously – even though they are physically remote and thus subject to lag (due to finite axonal conduction speeds).
They show how dynamical relaying between the two groups and a third intermediary group of relay cells brings about lag-free oscillations.
The authors point out that other researchers have suggested that reciprocally coupled cortical areas, with the thalamus acting as a relay mechanism, supports distributed cortical processing and the emergence of consciousness.
"In general, it is quite probable that a variety of mechanisms are responsible for bringing synchrony at different levels (distinguishing for example, among local and long-distance synchrony) and different cerebral structures ... The fact that each thalamus projects almost exclusively ipsilaterally (the massa intermedia is clearly inadequate for supporting the required interthalamic communication) is already an indication that the callosal commissure should play a prominent role in facilitating interhemispheric coherence. Lesion studies have since long confirmed this view.
Vicente, R., Gollo, L.L., Mirasso, C.R., Fischer, I. & Pipa, G. (2008) Dynamical relaying can yield zero time lag neuronal synchrony despite long conduction delays. PNAS, 2008 November 4, 105 (44), 17157-17162.
nothing more to see. please move along.