EEG, Alpha Waves and Coherence

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This thesis addresses some theoretical issues generated by the results of recent analysis of EEG time series proving the brain dynamics are driven by abrupt changes making them depart from the ordinary Poisson condition. These changes are renewal, unpredictable and non-ergodic. We refer to them as crucial events. How is it possible that this form of randomness be compatible with the generation of waves, for instance alpha waves, whose observation seems to suggest the opposite view the brain is characterized by surprisingly extended coherence? To shed light into this apparently irretrievable contradiction we propose a model based on a generalized ... continued below

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Ascolani, Gianluca May 2010.

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  • Ascolani, Gianluca

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This thesis addresses some theoretical issues generated by the results of recent analysis of EEG time series proving the brain dynamics are driven by abrupt changes making them depart from the ordinary Poisson condition. These changes are renewal, unpredictable and non-ergodic. We refer to them as crucial events. How is it possible that this form of randomness be compatible with the generation of waves, for instance alpha waves, whose observation seems to suggest the opposite view the brain is characterized by surprisingly extended coherence? To shed light into this apparently irretrievable contradiction we propose a model based on a generalized form of Langevin equation under the influence of a periodic stimulus. We assume that there exist two different forms of time, a subjective form compatible with Poisson statistical physical and an objective form that is accessible to experimental observation. The transition from the former to the latter form is determined by the brain dynamics interpreted as emerging from the cooperative interaction among many units that, in the absence of cooperation would generate Poisson fluctuations. We call natural time the brain internal time and we make the assumption that in the natural time representation the time evolution of the EEG variable y(t) is determined by a Langevin equation perturbed by a periodic process that in this time representation is hardly distinguishable from an erratic process. We show that the representation of this random process in the experimental time scale is characterized by a surprisingly extended coherence. We show that this model generates a sequence of damped oscillations with a time behavior that is remarkably similar to that derived from the analysis of real EEG's. The main result of this research work is that the existence of crucial events is not incompatible with the alpha wave coherence. In addition to this important result, we find another result that may help our group, or any other research group working on the analysis of brain's dynamics, to prove or to disprove the existence of crucial events. We study the diffusion process generated by fluctuations emerging from the same model after filtering out the alpha coherence, and we study the recursion to the origin. We study the survival probability of this process, namely the probability that up to a given time no re-crossing of the origin occurs. We find that this is an inverse power law with a power that depends on whether or not crucial events exist.

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  • May 2010

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  • Sept. 10, 2010, 1:20 a.m.

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  • Jan. 10, 2011, 5:34 p.m.

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Ascolani, Gianluca. EEG, Alpha Waves and Coherence, dissertation, May 2010; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28389/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .