Cecchini G, Scaglione A, Allegra Mascaro AL, Checcucci C, Conti E, Adam I, Fanelli D, Livi R, Pavone FS, Kreuz T
Stroke is a debilitating condition affecting millions of people worldwide. The development of improved rehabilitation therapies rests on finding biomarkers suitable for tracking functional damage and recovery. To achieve this goal, we perform a spatiotemporal analysis of cortical activity obtained by wide-field calcium images in mice before and after stroke. We compare spontaneous recovery with three different post-stroke rehabilitation paradigms, motor train- ing alone, pharmacological contralesional inactivation and both combined. We identify three novel indicators that are able to track how movement-evoked global activation patterns are impaired by stroke and evolve during rehabilitation: the duration, the smoothness, and the angle of individual propagation events. Results show that, compared to pre-stroke conditions, propagation of cortical activity in the subacute phase right after stroke is slowed down and more irregular. When comparing rehabilitation paradigms, we find that mice treated with both motor training and pharmacological intervention, the only group associated with generalized recovery, manifest new propagation patterns, that are even faster and smoother than before the stroke. In conclusion, our new spatiotemporal propagation indicators could represent promising biomarkers that are able to uncover neural correlates not only of motor deficits caused by stroke but also of functional recovery during rehabilitation. In turn, these insights could pave the way towards more targeted post-stroke therapies.
arXiv (2021) [PDF]
After COVID-19 was first reported in China at the end of 2019, it took only a few months for this local crisis to turn into a global pandemic with unprecedented disruptions of everyday life. However, at any moment in time the situation in different parts of the world is far from uniform and each country follows its own epidemiological trajectory. In order to keep track of the course of the pandemic in many different places at the same time, it is vital to develop comparative visualizations that facilitate the recognition of common trends and divergent behaviors. Similarly, it is important to always focus on the information that is most relevant at any given point in time. In this study we look at exactly one year of daily numbers of new cases and deaths and present data visualizations that compare many different countries and are adapted to the overall stage of the pandemic. During the early stage when cases and deaths still rise we focus on the time lag relative to the current epicenter of the pandemic and the doubling times. Later we monitor the rise and fall of the daily numbers via wave detection plots. The transition between these two stages takes place when the daily numbers stop rising for the first time.
Adam I, Cecchini G, Fanelli D, Kreuz T, Livi R, di Volo M, Allegra Mascaro AL, Conti E, Scaglione A, Silvestri L, Pavone FS
An inverse procedure is proposed and tested which aims at recovering the a priori unknown functional and structural information from global signals of living brains activity. To this end, we consider a Leaky-Integrate and Fire (LIF) model with short term plasticity neurons, coupled via a directed network. Neurons are assigned a specific current value, which is heterogenous across the sample, and sets the firing regime in which the neuron is operating in. The aim of the method is to recover the distribution of incoming network degrees, as well as the distribution of the assigned currents, from global field measurements. The proposed approach to the inverse problem implements the reductionist Heterogenous Mean-Field approximation. This amounts in turn to organizing the neurons in different classes, depending on their associated degree and current. When tested against synthetic data, the method returns accurate estimates of the sought distributions, while managing to reproduce and interpolate almost exactly the time series of the supplied global field. Finally, we also applied the proposed technique to longitudinal wide-field fluorescence microscopy data of cortical functionality in awake Thy1-GCaMP6f mice. Mice are induced a photothrombotic stroke in the primary motor cortex and their recovery monitored in time. An all-to-all LIF model which accommodates for currents heterogeneity allows to adequately explain the recorded patterns of activation. Altered distributions in neuron excitability are in particular detected, compatible with the phenomenon of hyperexcitability in the penumbra region after stroke.
Satuvuori E, Mulansky M, Daffertshofer A, Kreuz T
Comparison with existing methods
Repetitive spatio-temporal propagation patterns are encountered in fields as wide-ranging as climatology, social communication and network science. In neuroscience, perfectly consistent repetitions of the same global propagation pattern are called a synfire pattern. For any recording of sequences of discrete events (in neuroscience terminology: sets of spike trains) the questions arise how closely it resembles such a synfire pattern and which are the spike trains that lead/follow. Here we address these questions and introduce an algorithm built on two new indicators, termed SPIKE-order and spike train order, that define the synfire indicator value, which allows to sort multiple spike trains from leader to follower and to quantify the consistency of the temporal leader-follower relationships for both the original and the optimized sorting. We demonstrate our new approach using artificially generated datasets before we apply it to analyze the consistency of propagation patterns in two real datasets from neuroscience (giant depolarized potentials in mice slices) and climatology (El Niño sea surface temperature recordings). The new algorithm is distinguished by conceptual and practical simplicity, low computational cost, as well as flexibility and universality.
Understanding how the brain functions is one of the biggest challenges of our time. The analysis of experimentally recorded neural firing patterns (spike trains) plays a crucial role in addressing this problem. Here, the PySpike library is introduced, a Python package for spike train analysis providing parameter-free and time-scale independent measures of spike train synchrony. It allows to compute similarity and dissimilarity profiles, averaged values and distance matrices. Although mainly focusing on neuroscience, PySpike can also be applied in other contexts like climate research or social sciences. The package is available as Open Source on Github and PyPI.
Techniques for recording large-scale neuronal spiking activity are developing very fast. This leads to an increasing demand for algorithms capable of analyzing large amounts of experimental spike train data. One of the most crucial and demanding tasks is the identification of similarity patterns with a very high temporal resolution and across different spatial scales. To address this task, in recent years three time-resolved measures of spike train synchrony have been proposed, the ISIdistance, the SPIKE-distance, and event synchronization. The Matlab source codes for calculating and visualizing these measures have been made publicly available. However, due to the many different possible representations of the results the use of these codes is rather complicated and their application requires some basic knowledge of Matlab. Thus it became desirable to provide a more user-friendly and interactive interface. Here we address this need and present SPIKY, a graphical user interface that facilitates the application of time-resolved measures of spike train synchrony to both simulated and real data. SPIKY includes implementations of the ISI-distance, the SPIKE-distance, and the SPIKE-synchronization (an improved and simplified extension of event synchronization) that have been optimized with respect to computation speed and memory demand. It also comprises a spike train generator and an event detector that makes it capable of analyzing continuous data. Finally, the SPIKY package includes additional complementary programs aimed at the analysis of large numbers of datasets and the estimation of significance levels.
The detection of a nonrandom structure from experimental data can be crucial for the classification, understanding, and interpretation of the generating process. We here introduce a rank-based nonlinear predictability score to detect determinism from point process data. Thanks to its modular nature, this approach can be adapted to whatever signature in the data one considers indicative of deterministic structure. After validating our approach using point process signals from deterministic and stochastic model dynamics, we show an application to neuronal spike trains recorded in the brain of an epilepsy patient. While we illustrate our approach in the context of temporal point processes, it can be readily applied to spatial point processes as well.