Basal Ganglia ThalamicCortical System as a Complex System

The physiology and pathophysiology of the basal ganglia-thalamic-cortical system is complex. This is especially true when the physiology and pathophysiology are viewed at a time scale measured in milliseconds and at a resolution that approaches consideration of thousands of neurons interacting. The next generation of theories must consider basal ganglia function as a dynamical system. We will have to borrow heavily from the physics of information theory such as loosely coupled oscillators (66), "small world" dynamics (67), and scale-free networks (68). The complexity of the biological data will necessitate an understanding based on computational simulations. Consequently, the biology of the basal ganglia will move from in vivo and in vitro to in silico (69). We will still need careful animal studies, but these will have to be done in such a way as to capture the dynamics of the entire system.

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