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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2015 May 19;370(1668). pii: 20140172. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0172.

The restless brain: how intrinsic activity organizes brain function.

Author information

1
Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, 4525 Scott Avenue, Room 2116, St Louis, MO 63110, USA marc@npg.wustl.edu.

Abstract

Traditionally studies of brain function have focused on task-evoked responses. By their very nature such experiments tacitly encourage a reflexive view of brain function. While such an approach has been remarkably productive at all levels of neuroscience, it ignores the alternative possibility that brain functions are mainly intrinsic and ongoing, involving information processing for interpreting, responding to and predicting environmental demands. I suggest that the latter view best captures the essence of brain function, a position that accords well with the allocation of the brain's energy resources, its limited access to sensory information and a dynamic, intrinsic functional organization. The nature of this intrinsic activity, which exhibits a surprising level of organization with dimensions of both space and time, is revealed in the ongoing activity of the brain and its metabolism. As we look to the future, understanding the nature of this intrinsic activity will require integrating knowledge from cognitive and systems neuroscience with cellular and molecular neuroscience where ion channels, receptors, components of signal transduction and metabolic pathways are all in a constant state of flux. The reward for doing so will be a much better understanding of human behaviour in health and disease.

KEYWORDS:

aerobic glycolysis; functional connectivity; local field potentials; neoteny; resting state; slow cortical potentials

PMID:
25823869
PMCID:
PMC4387513
DOI:
10.1098/rstb.2014.0172
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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