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Prog Brain Res. 2007;165:13-9.

A simple growth model constructs critical avalanche networks.

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Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032-2695, USA.


Neurons recorded from electrode arrays show a remarkable scaling property in their bursts of spontaneous activity, referred to as "avalanches" (Beggs and Plenz, 2003, 2004). Such scaling suggests a critical property in the coupling of these circuits. We show that similar scaling laws can arise in a simple model for the growth of neuronal processes. In the model (Van Ooyen and Van Pelt, 1994, 1996), the spatial range of the processes extending from each neuron is represented by a circle that grows or shrinks as a function of the average intracellular calcium concentration. Neurons interact when the circles corresponding to their processes intersect, with a strength proportional to the area of overlap.

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