Spatio-temporal Modelling and Analysis of Epileptiform EEG

  • Marc Goodfellow

    Student thesis: Phd


    In this thesis we investigate the mechanisms underlying the generation of abnormal EEG rhythms in epilepsy, which is a crucial step towards better treatment of this disorder in the future. To this end, macroscopic scale mathematical models of the interactions between neuronal populations are examined. In particular, the role of interactions between neural masses that are spatially distributed in cortical networks are explored. In addition, two other important aspects of the modelling process are addressed, namely the conversion of macroscopic model variables into EEG output and the comparison of multivariate, spatio-temporal data. For the latter, we adopt a vectorisation of the correlation matrix of windowed data and subsequent comparison of data by vector distance measures.Our modelling studies indicate that excitatory connectivity between neural masses facilitates self-organised dynamics. In particular, we report for the first time the production of complex rhythmic transients and the generation of intermittent periods of "abnormal" rhythmic activity in two different models of epileptogenic tissue. These models therefore provide novel accounts of the spontaneous, intermittent transition between normal and pathological rhythms in primarily generalised epilepsies and the evocation of complex, self-terminating, spatio-temporal dynamics by brief stimulation in focal epilepsies.Two key properties of these models are excitability at the macroscopic level and the presence of spatial heterogeneities. The identification of neural mass excitability as an important processes in spatially extended brain networks is a step towards uncovering the multi-scale nature of the pathological mechanisms of epilepsy. A direct consequence of this work is therefore that novel experimental investigations are proposed, which in itself is a validation of our modelling approach. In addition, new considerations regarding the nature of dynamical systems as applied to problems of transitions between rhythmic states are proposed and will prompt future investigations of complex transients in spatio-temporal excitable systems.
    Date of Award1 Aug 2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorGerold Baier (Supervisor)


    • mathematical modelling
    • excitable media
    • neural mass models
    • epilepsy
    • EEG
    • non-linear dynamics
    • multivariate analysis

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