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Rhythms of the Brain$
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György Buzsáki

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195301069

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301069.001.0001

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The Brain’s Default State: Self-Organized Oscillations in Rest and Sleep

The Brain’s Default State: Self-Organized Oscillations in Rest and Sleep

(p.175) Cycle 7 The Brain’s Default State: Self-Organized Oscillations in Rest and Sleep
Rhythms of the Brain

Buzsáki György

Oxford University Press

In the absence of environmental inputs, such as during sleep, the brain engages in self-organized activity. The isolated neocortex, or small pieces of it, can sustain self-organized patterns. Neurons in local or global regions of the cerebral cortex swing between excitable and less excitable (up and down) states. In the intact brain, properly timed exogenous influences can trigger upswing changes, if the cortical network has already spent a sufficient amount of time in the down state. Parallel with the increasing probability of cortical up-down state shifts, the membrane potential of thalamocortical neurons progressively polarizes. Cholinergic activity during REM sleep and in the waking brain is mainly responsible for the lack of down states in cortical neurons. The most prominent oscillation of the waking brain is the family of alpha rhythms that occur selectively in every sensory and motor thalamocortical system in the absence of sensory inputs.

Keywords:   sleep, REM sleep, slow oscillations, alpha oscillations, mu rhythm, tau rhythm, sleep spindles, K complexes, intrinsic properties, thalamic nuclei

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