by Keyword: Theta-oscillations

Ahmad, J, Ellis, C, Leech, R, Voytek, B, Garces, P, Jones, E, Buitelaar, J, Loth, E, dos Santos, FP, Amil, AF, Verschure, PFMJ, Murphy, D, McAlonan, G, (2022). From mechanisms to markers: novel noninvasive EEG proxy markers of the neural excitation and inhibition system in humans Translational Psychiatry 12, 467

Brain function is a product of the balance between excitatory and inhibitory (E/I) brain activity. Variation in the regulation of this activity is thought to give rise to normal variation in human traits, and disruptions are thought to potentially underlie a spectrum of neuropsychiatric conditions (e.g., Autism, Schizophrenia, Downs' Syndrome, intellectual disability). Hypotheses related to E/I dysfunction have the potential to provide cross-diagnostic explanations and to combine genetic and neurological evidence that exists within and between psychiatric conditions. However, the hypothesis has been difficult to test because: (1) it lacks specificity-an E/I dysfunction could pertain to any level in the neural system- neurotransmitters, single neurons/receptors, local networks of neurons, or global brain balance - most researchers do not define the level at which they are examining E/I function; (2) We lack validated methods for assessing E/I function at any of these neural levels in humans. As a result, it has not been possible to reliably or robustly test the E/I hypothesis of psychiatric disorders in a large cohort or longitudinal patient studies. Currently available, in vivo markers of E/I in humans either carry significant risks (e.g., deep brain electrode recordings or using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with radioactive tracers) and/or are highly restrictive (e.g., limited spatial extent for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). More recently, a range of novel Electroencephalography (EEG) features has been described, which could serve as proxy markers for E/I at a given level of inference. Thus, in this perspective review, we survey the theories and experimental evidence underlying 6 novel EEG markers and their biological underpinnings at a specific neural level. These cheap-to-record and scalable proxy markers may offer clinical utility for identifying subgroups within and between diagnostic categories, thus directing more tailored sub-grouping and, therefore, treatment strategies. However, we argue that studies in clinical populations are premature. To maximize the potential of prospective EEG markers, we first need to understand the link between underlying E/I mechanisms and measurement techniques.

JTD Keywords: Cortical networks, Direction selectivity, Excitation/inhibition balance, Fast network oscillations, Gaba concentration, Gamma oscillation frequency, Neuronal oscillations, Range temporal correlations, Self-organized criticality, Theta-oscillations