Lowet E, Roberts MJ, Peter A, Gips B, De Weerd P.
Elife. 2017 Aug 31;6. pii: e26642. doi: 10.7554/eLife.26642.
This paper proposes a new theoretical framework based on the mathematics of weakly coupled oscillators to understand neural communication. Using pairs of depth probe recordings in primary visual cortex, the investigators show that gamma synchronization is intermittent, which means it shows fast dynamic modulations in strength. Thus, gamma frequency, and gamma phase locking varies over time. The reported research shows that from the dynamics of phase locking, information can be derived about the factors that drive synchronization (similarity in input or strength of connectivity). Thus, instead of observing changes in synchronization, it is now possible to state something about what the underlying cause is of an observed change in synchronization. Conversely, from a hypothesized change in inputs to or connectivity between sites of interest in the brain, the precise dynamics of phase locking can be predicted. The principles of synchronization demonstrated here in the gamma range are suggested to apply also in other frequency ranges. If this holds, the quantitative and predictive theory of synchronization proposed here may contribute to a broad spectrum of cognitive research.