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1.  Unsupervised classification of neocortical activity patterns in neonatal and pre-juvenile rodents 
Flexible communication within the brain, which relies on oscillatory activity, is not confined to adult neuronal networks. Experimental evidence has documented the presence of discontinuous patterns of oscillatory activity already during early development. Their highly variable spatial and time-frequency organization has been related to region specificity. However, it might be equally due to the absence of unitary criteria for classifying the early activity patterns, since they have been mainly characterized by visual inspection. Therefore, robust and unbiased methods for categorizing these discontinuous oscillations are needed for increasingly complex data sets from different labs. Here, we introduce an unsupervised detection and classification algorithm for the discontinuous activity patterns of rodents during early development. For this, in a first step time windows with discontinuous oscillations vs. epochs of network “silence” were identified. In a second step, the major features of detected events were identified and processed by principal component analysis for deciding on their contribution to the classification of different oscillatory patterns. Finally, these patterns were categorized using an unsupervised cluster algorithm. The results were validated on manually characterized neonatal spindle bursts (SB), which ubiquitously entrain neocortical areas of rats and mice, and prelimbic nested gamma spindle bursts (NG). Moreover, the algorithm led to satisfactory results for oscillatory events that, due to increased similarity of their features, were more difficult to classify, e.g., during the pre-juvenile developmental period. Based on a linear classification, the optimal number of features to consider increased with the difficulty of detection. This algorithm allows the comparison of neonatal and pre-juvenile oscillatory patterns in their spatial and temporal organization. It might represent a first step for the unbiased elucidation of activity patterns during development.
PMCID: PMC4034041  PMID: 24904296
development; principal component analysis; network oscillations; synchrony; high-frequency oscillations; prefrontal cortex
3.  Statistical evaluation of synchronous spike patterns extracted by frequent item set mining 
We recently proposed frequent itemset mining (FIM) as a method to perform an optimized search for patterns of synchronous spikes (item sets) in massively parallel spike trains. This search outputs the occurrence count (support) of individual patterns that are not trivially explained by the counts of any superset (closed frequent item sets). The number of patterns found by FIM makes direct statistical tests infeasible due to severe multiple testing. To overcome this issue, we proposed to test the significance not of individual patterns, but instead of their signatures, defined as the pairs of pattern size z and support c. Here, we derive in detail a statistical test for the significance of the signatures under the null hypothesis of full independence (pattern spectrum filtering, PSF) by means of surrogate data. As a result, injected spike patterns that mimic assembly activity are well detected, yielding a low false negative rate. However, this approach is prone to additionally classify patterns resulting from chance overlap of real assembly activity and background spiking as significant. These patterns represent false positives with respect to the null hypothesis of having one assembly of given signature embedded in otherwise independent spiking activity. We propose the additional method of pattern set reduction (PSR) to remove these false positives by conditional filtering. By employing stochastic simulations of parallel spike trains with correlated activity in form of injected spike synchrony in subsets of the neurons, we demonstrate for a range of parameter settings that the analysis scheme composed of FIM, PSF and PSR allows to reliably detect active assemblies in massively parallel spike trains.
PMCID: PMC3805944  PMID: 24167487
higher-order correlations; neuronal cell assemblies; spike patterns; spike synchrony; multiple testing; data mining
5.  The Local Field Potential Reflects Surplus Spike Synchrony 
Cerebral Cortex (New York, NY)  2011;21(12):2681-2695.
While oscillations of the local field potential (LFP) are commonly attributed to the synchronization of neuronal firing rate on the same time scale, their relationship to coincident spiking in the millisecond range is unknown. Here, we present experimental evidence to reconcile the notions of synchrony at the level of spiking and at the mesoscopic scale. We demonstrate that only in time intervals of significant spike synchrony that cannot be explained on the basis of firing rates, coincident spikes are better phase locked to the LFP than predicted by the locking of the individual spikes. This effect is enhanced in periods of large LFP amplitudes. A quantitative model explains the LFP dynamics by the orchestrated spiking activity in neuronal groups that contribute the observed surplus synchrony. From the correlation analysis, we infer that neurons participate in different constellations but contribute only a fraction of their spikes to temporally precise spike configurations. This finding provides direct evidence for the hypothesized relation that precise spike synchrony constitutes a major temporally and spatially organized component of the LFP.
PMCID: PMC3209854  PMID: 21508303
motor cortex; oscillation; population signals; synchrony
7.  Estimating the contribution of assembly activity to cortical dynamics from spike and population measures 
The hypothesis that cortical networks employ the coordinated activity of groups of neurons, termed assemblies, to process information is debated. Results from multiple single-unit recordings are not conclusive because of the dramatic undersampling of the system. However, the local field potential (LFP) is a mesoscopic signal reflecting synchronized network activity. This raises the question whether the LFP can be employed to overcome the problem of undersampling. In a recent study in the motor cortex of the awake behaving monkey based on the locking of coincidences to the LFP we determined a lower bound for the fraction of spike coincidences originating from assembly activation. This quantity together with the locking of single spikes leads to a lower bound for the fraction of spikes originating from any assembly activity. Here we derive a statistical method to estimate the fraction of spike synchrony caused by assemblies—not its lower bound—from the spike data alone. A joint spike and LFP surrogate data model demonstrates consistency of results and the sensitivity of the method. Combining spike and LFP signals, we obtain an estimate of the fraction of spikes resulting from assemblies in the experimental data.
PMCID: PMC2978895  PMID: 20480218
LFP; Synchrony; Oscillations; Network dynamics; Motor cortex

Results 1-7 (7)