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Section: Scientific Foundations

Brain Signal Processing

The observation of brain activity and its analysis with appropriate data analysis techniques allow to extract properties of underlying neural activity and to better understand high level functions. This study needs to investigate and integrate, (i) in a single trial, information (ii) spread in several cortical areas and (iii) available at different scales (MUA, LFP, ECoG, EEG).

One major problem is how to be able to deal with the variability between trials. Thus, it is necessary to develop robust techniques based on stable features. Specific modeling techniques should be able to extract features investigating the time domain and the frequency domain. In the time domain, template-based unsupervised models allows to extract graphic-elements. Both the average technique to obtain the templates and the distance used to match the signal with the templates are important, even when the signal has a strong distorted shape. The study of spike synchrony is also an important challenge. In the frequency domain, features such as phases, frequency bands and amplitudes contain different pieces of information that should be properly identified using variable selection techniques. In both cases, compression techniques such as PCA can reduce the fluctuations of the cortical signal. Then, the developed models have to be able to track the drift of these features over the time.

Another problem is how to integrate information spreads in different areas and relate this information in a proper time window of synchronization to behavior. For example, feedbacks are very important to better understand a closed-loop control of hand grasp. But between the preparatory signal, the execution of the movement and the visual and somatosensory feedbacks a delay exists. Here, it is also necessary to use stable features to build a mapping between areas using supervised models taking into account a time window shift.

Several recoding techniques exist providing different kinds of information. Some of them provide very local information such as multiunit activities (MUA) and local field potential (LFP) in one or several well-chosen cortical areas. Other ones provide global information about close regions such electrocorticography (ECoG) or the whole scalp such as electroencephalography (EEG). If surface electrodes allow to easily obtain brain imaging, it is more and more necessary to better investigate the neural code.


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