Estimation of spatiotemporal neural activity using radial basis function networks.
We report a method using radial basis function (RBF) networks to estimate the time evolution of population activity in topologically organized neural structures from single-neuron recordings. This is an important problem in neuroscience research, as such estimates may provide insights into systems-level function of these structures. Since single-unit neural data tends to be unevenly sampled and highly variable under similar behavioral conditions, obtaining such estimates is a difficult task. In particular, a class of cells in the superior colliculus called buildup neurons can have very narrow regions of saccade vectors for which they discharge at high rates but very large surround regions over which they discharge at low, but not zero, levels. Estimating the dynamic movement fields for these cells for two spatial dimensions at closely spaced timed intervals is a difficult problem, and no general method has been described that can be applied to all buildup cells. Estimation of individual collicular cells' spatiotemporal movement fields is a prerequisite for obtaining reliable two-dimensional estimates of the population activity on the collicular motor map during saccades. Therefore, we have developed several computational-geometry-based algorithms that regularize the data before computing a surface estimation using RBF networks. The method is then expanded to the problem of estimating simultaneous spatiotemporal activity occurring across the superior colliculus during a single movement (the inverse problem). In principle, this methodology could be applied to any neural structure with a regular, two-dimensional organization, provided a sufficient spatial distribution of sampled neurons is available.
Anderson, RW; Das, S; Keller, EL
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