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Optimal control of oscillatory neuronal models with applications to communication through coherence

Michael OrieuxAntoni GuillamonGemma Huguet
Nov 2023
Macroscopic oscillations in the brain are involved in various cognitive and physiological processes, yet their precise function is not not completely understood. Communication Through Coherence (CTC) theory proposes that these rhythmic electrical patterns might serve to regulate the information flow between neural populations. Thus, to communicate effectively, neural populations must synchronize their oscillatory activity, ensuring that input volleys from the presynaptic population reach the postsynaptic one at its maximum phase of excitability. We consider an Excitatory-Inhibitory (E-I) network whose macroscopic activity is described by an exact mean-field model. The E-I network receives periodic inputs from either one or two external sources, for which effective communication will not be achieved in the absence of control. We explore strategies based on optimal control theory for phase-amplitude dynamics to design a control that sets the target population in the optimal phase to synchronize its activity with a specific presynaptic input signal and establish communication. The control mechanism resembles the role of a higher cortical area in the context of selective attention. To design the control, we use the phase-amplitude reduction of a limit cycle and leverage recent developments in this field in order to find the most effective control strategy regarding a defined cost function. Furthermore, we present results that guarantee the local controllability of the system close to the limit cycle.
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