Research Topic

Neural Oscillations in Physiology and Neuropsychiatric Disorders

About this Research Topic

Oscillatory neuronal (electrical) activity in defined frequency ranges supports synchronous interactions between anatomically distinct regions of the human brain during cognitive tasks. Neural oscillations are a fundamental mechanism for the establishment of precise temporal relationships between neuronal responses that are in turn relevant for memory, perception and consciousness. Converging evidence from electrophysiological, physiological and anatomical studies suggests that abnormalities in the synchronized oscillatory activity of neurons may have a central role in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Thus, a crucial role for dysfunctional oscillations in the generation of the cognitive deficits and other symptoms of the disorder should be elucidated.

Recent evidence has emerged that the brain’s connectome has small-world properties, which implies that even neuronal groups distributed across distant cortical areas can communicate with one another either directly or via only a small number of intervening nodes. For instance, the oscillations dominating slow-wave sleep are the <1 Hz slow oscillation, ~12-15 Hz spindles, and ~80 Hz ripples. These well studied oscillations are generated in cortical networks and are suggested to be involved in systems memory consolidation

From this perspective, cognition, consciousness and their disturbances are not properties arising from isolated neuronal units but rather from the distributed and coordinated interplay of large neuronal assemblies. This neuronal coordination may be achieved through modulating the synchrony of rhythmic activity at low and high frequencies. As an example, different physiological processes are marked by different oscillations. Gamma-band oscillations are involved in the maintenance of working memory (WM) information. By contrast, alpha-band activity reflects the active inhibition of task-irrelevant information, whereas theta-band oscillations are involved in the organization of sequentially ordered working memory pieces of information. Changes in the precision and strength of neuronal oscillations might be responsible for the underlying cognitive deficits and possibly certain clinical symptoms in several conditions.

The goal of this Research Topic is to conceptualize the brain as a self-organizing complex system in which numerous, densely interconnected, but functionally specialized areas cooperate in ever-changing, context- and task-dependent constellations. In this investigative scenario, articles focusing on cognitive abnormalities and underlying oscillatory dysfunctions are welcome. We welcome authors to address the following, but not limited topics:

• Functional roles of neural oscillations in normal human brain (e.g., consciousness, cognition and working memory, etc)
• EEG, MEG, ECoG evidence describing neural oscillations in physiology (e.g., GABA, NMDA, etc)
• Schizophrenia and related neuropsychiatric disorders with an abnormal cognitive outcome, dysfunctional oscillations analysis via EEG, MEG recordings
• Normal sleep and sleep-related disorders: dysfunctional oscillations evidence and cognitive impact
• Epilepsy: focal onset vs. generalized onset
• Autism spectrum disorder – dysregulated oscillatory activity – sensory oscillations
• Movement disorders: oscillatory activity in the basal ganglia disturbs information processing in the basal ganglia and induce motor dysfunctions as seen in Parkinson's disease and dystonia.


Keywords: Neural Oscillations, Physiology, Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Cognition, Epilepsy, Movement Disorders


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Oscillatory neuronal (electrical) activity in defined frequency ranges supports synchronous interactions between anatomically distinct regions of the human brain during cognitive tasks. Neural oscillations are a fundamental mechanism for the establishment of precise temporal relationships between neuronal responses that are in turn relevant for memory, perception and consciousness. Converging evidence from electrophysiological, physiological and anatomical studies suggests that abnormalities in the synchronized oscillatory activity of neurons may have a central role in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Thus, a crucial role for dysfunctional oscillations in the generation of the cognitive deficits and other symptoms of the disorder should be elucidated.

Recent evidence has emerged that the brain’s connectome has small-world properties, which implies that even neuronal groups distributed across distant cortical areas can communicate with one another either directly or via only a small number of intervening nodes. For instance, the oscillations dominating slow-wave sleep are the <1 Hz slow oscillation, ~12-15 Hz spindles, and ~80 Hz ripples. These well studied oscillations are generated in cortical networks and are suggested to be involved in systems memory consolidation

From this perspective, cognition, consciousness and their disturbances are not properties arising from isolated neuronal units but rather from the distributed and coordinated interplay of large neuronal assemblies. This neuronal coordination may be achieved through modulating the synchrony of rhythmic activity at low and high frequencies. As an example, different physiological processes are marked by different oscillations. Gamma-band oscillations are involved in the maintenance of working memory (WM) information. By contrast, alpha-band activity reflects the active inhibition of task-irrelevant information, whereas theta-band oscillations are involved in the organization of sequentially ordered working memory pieces of information. Changes in the precision and strength of neuronal oscillations might be responsible for the underlying cognitive deficits and possibly certain clinical symptoms in several conditions.

The goal of this Research Topic is to conceptualize the brain as a self-organizing complex system in which numerous, densely interconnected, but functionally specialized areas cooperate in ever-changing, context- and task-dependent constellations. In this investigative scenario, articles focusing on cognitive abnormalities and underlying oscillatory dysfunctions are welcome. We welcome authors to address the following, but not limited topics:

• Functional roles of neural oscillations in normal human brain (e.g., consciousness, cognition and working memory, etc)
• EEG, MEG, ECoG evidence describing neural oscillations in physiology (e.g., GABA, NMDA, etc)
• Schizophrenia and related neuropsychiatric disorders with an abnormal cognitive outcome, dysfunctional oscillations analysis via EEG, MEG recordings
• Normal sleep and sleep-related disorders: dysfunctional oscillations evidence and cognitive impact
• Epilepsy: focal onset vs. generalized onset
• Autism spectrum disorder – dysregulated oscillatory activity – sensory oscillations
• Movement disorders: oscillatory activity in the basal ganglia disturbs information processing in the basal ganglia and induce motor dysfunctions as seen in Parkinson's disease and dystonia.


Keywords: Neural Oscillations, Physiology, Neuropsychiatric Disorders, Cognition, Epilepsy, Movement Disorders


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2021 Abstract
21 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2021 Abstract
21 May 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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