It has been reported that cross-frequency interactions may play an important role in local processing within thalamus and neocortex, as well as information transfer between subcortical and cortico-cortical brain regions. Strong commonalities in rhythmic network properties have been observed across recording techniques and task demands, but strong neuroscientific theories to situate such observations within a unified framework with direct relevance to explain neuropathologies remain scarce. Based on a comprehensive review of animal and human literature, we probe and introduce a neurophysiological framework to explain how coordinated cross-frequency and interregional oscillatory cortical dynamics underlie typical and atypical brain activation, and the formation of distributed functional ensembles supporting cortical networks underpinning perception and cognition. We propose that local regional activation by an external stimulus via a sensory pathway entails (1) attenuated alpha (8–14 Hz) and increased theta (4–8 Hz) and gamma (30–50 Hz) oscillatory activity, and (2) increased interactions among theta and gamma rhythms. These local dynamics also mediate the integration of activated neural populations into large-scale functional assemblies through neuronal synchronization. This comprehensive perspective into the animal and human literature indicates a further thinking beyond synchrony and connectivity and the readiness for more hypothesis-driven research and modeling toward unified principles of thalamo-cortical processing. We further introduced such a possible framework: “The ATG switch”. We also discussed evidence that alpha–theta–gamma dynamics emerging from thalamocortical interactions may be implicated and disrupted in numerous neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions.
Biomedical Engineering Letters – Springer Journals
Published: May 2, 2017
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