Neurological disorders share common high-level alterations, such as cognitive deficits, anxiety, and depression. This raises the possibility of fundamental alterations in the way information conveyed by neural firing is maintained and dispatched in the diseased brain. Using experimental epilepsy as a model of neurological disorder we tested the hypothesis of altered information processing, analyzing how neurons in the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex store and exchange information during slow and theta oscillations. We equate the storage and sharing of information to low level, or primitive, information processing at the algorithmic level, the theoretical intermediate level between structure and function. We find that these low-level processes are organized into substates during brain states marked by theta and slow oscillations. Their internal composition and organization through time are disrupted in epilepsy, loosing brain state-specificity, and shifting towards a regime of disorder in a brain region dependent manner. We propose that the alteration of information processing at an algorithmic level may be a mechanism behind the emergent and widespread co-morbidities associated with epilepsy, and perhaps other disorders.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience