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Intracortical recordings and fMRI: An attempt to study operational modules and networks simultaneously


Logothetis,  NK
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Logothetis, N. (2012). Intracortical recordings and fMRI: An attempt to study operational modules and networks simultaneously. NeuroImage, 62(2), 962–969. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.01.033.

The brain can be envisaged as a complex adaptive system. It is characterized by a very high structural complexity and by massive connectivity, both of which change and evolve in response to experience. Information related to sensors and effectors is processed in both a parallel and a hierarchical fashion; the connectivity between different hierarchical levels is bidirectional, and its effectiveness is continuously controlled by specific associational and neuromodulatory centers. When questions are addressed at the level of a distributed, large-scale whole system such as that underlying perception and cognition, it is not clear what should be considered as an elementary operational unit because the behavior of integral, aggregate systems is always emergent and most often remains unpredicted by the behaviors of single cells. To localize and comprehend the neural mechanisms underlying our perceptual or cognitive capacities, concurrent studies of microcircuits, of local and long-range interconnectivity between small assemblies, and of the synergistic activity of larger neuronal populations are called for. In other words, multimodal methodologies that include invasive neuroscientific methods as well as global neuroimaging techniques are required, such as the various functional aspects of magnetic resonance imaging. These facts were the driving force behind the decision to begin animal-MRI in my lab. The wonderful idea of the editors of NeuroImage to publish a Special Issue commemorating 20 years of functional fMRI provides me with the opportunity of sharing not only our first moments of frustration with the readers, but also our successful results.