Publication Summary and Abstract
Tomkins, A., Humphries, M., Beste, C., Vasilaki, E., & Gurney, K. (2012), How Degrading Networks Can Increase Cognitive Functions, Artificial Neural Networks and Machine Learning – ICANN 2012: Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 185-192.
Huntington’s is a genetic, progressive neuro-degenerative disease, causing massive network degradation effecting the medium spiny neurons of the striatum in the basal ganglia (a set of sub-cortical nuclei, believed to be critical for action selection). Despite substantial striatal cell atrophy, some cognitive functions have been shown to improve in manifest Huntington’s disease patients over healthy and pre-symptomatic Huntington’s disease patients. Using a detailed model of the striatal microcircuit, we show that combining current ideas about the underlying causes of the disease could lead to the counter-intuitive result of improved competitive network dynamics for signal selection.