A few years ago, on my maths masters, I did a module in theoretical neuroscience. I was shown that the mathematical framework the course developed for neurons, with a small adjustment in the parameters, would produce spike trains similar to those observed during epileptic kindling. These parametric tweaks could be attributed to mutations in ion channel/receptor structures. This was one of the highlights of the course, and when I came to apply for a math/bio interdisciplinary doctoral program, I cited it as such in my personal statement.

Now the interview is fast approaching, and I'm pretty sure it's going to come up, but for the life of me I can't track down a reference. After four years out of the game, my memory is hazy at best.

As I recall, this had something to do with short term plasticity. Normal neurons' response to unrelentingly high frequency spike trains decayes over time, while pathological neurons' does not. This may however be entirely wrong.

What is a reference for the model I describe above? An introductory/educational treatement is prefered, but the original paper is fine.

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    $\begingroup$ To meet the standards of SE please consider concentrating on asking a well-pointed question (not on personal story, urgency, ...). $\endgroup$ May 22, 2012 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ I echo Piotr's sentiment, but is this the article? Lopes Da Silva is a leader in the field. $\endgroup$
    – jonsca
    May 22, 2012 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ @PiotrMigdal I don't think there is an inherent problem with adding a person flavour to a question, as long as the question is still clear. In this case it is a reference-request for a very specific result. $\endgroup$ Jun 25, 2012 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtemKaznatcheev Yes, as long as one does not need to read one's life story before the actual question. Personally I am irritated by 'questions' in which I need to search for the actual question. $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2012 at 9:32

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, epileptic spiking can occur very easily in many neural modeling studies, and therefore one should be very careful in asserting the possibility of certain aspects of model as a cause for epileptic activity. One possibility, as you mentioned, is the lack of short-term depression which prevents long sustained firing. But again, a simple increase in the global excitatory coupling can also exhibit similar dynamics.

Good luck on your interview.


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