Synchronization in dynamical networks: synchronizability, neural network models and EEG analysis

Complex dynamical networks are ubiquitous in many fields of science from engineering to biology, physics, and sociology. Collective behavior, and in particular synchronization,) is one of the most interesting consequences of interaction of dynamical systems over complex networks. In this thesis we study some aspects of synchronization in dynamical networks. The first section of the study discuses the problem of synchronizability in dynamical networks. Although synchronizability, i.e. the ease by which interacting dynamical systems can synchronize their activity, has been frequently used in research studies, there is no single interpretation for that. Here we give some possible interpretations of synchronizability and investigate to what extent they coincide. We show that in unweighted dynamical networks different interpretations of synchronizability do not lie in the same line, in general. However, in networks with high degrees of synchronization properties, the networks with properly assigned weights for the links or the ones with well-performed link rewirings, the different interpretations of synchronizability go hand in hand. We also show that networks with nonidentical diffusive connections whose weights are assigned using the connection-graph-stability method are better synchronizable compared to networks with identical diffusive couplings. Furthermore, we give an algorithm based on node and edge betweenness centrality measures to enhance the synchronizability of dynamical networks. The algorithm is tested on some artificially constructed dynamical networks as well as on some real-world networks from different disciplines. In the second section we study the synchronization phenomenon in networks of Hindmarsh-Rose neurons. First, the complete synchronization of Hindmarsh-Rose neurons over Newman-Watts networks is investigated. By numerically solving the differential equations of the dynamical network as well as using the master-stability-function method we determine the synchronizing coupling strength for diffusively coupled Hindmarsh-Rose neurons. We also consider clustered networks with dense intra-cluster connections and sparse inter-cluster links. In such networks, the synchronizability is more influenced by the inter-cluster links than intra-cluster connections. We also consider the case where the neurons are coupled through both electrical and chemical connections and obtain the synchronizing coupling strength using numerical calculations. We investigate the behavior of interacting locally synchronized gamma oscillations. We construct a network of minimal number of neurons producing synchronized gamma oscillations. By simulating giant networks of this minimal module we study the dependence of the spike synchrony on some parameters of the network such as the probability and strength of excitatory/inhibitory couplings, parameter mismatch, correlation of thalamic input and transmission time-delay. In the third section of the thesis we study the interdependencies within the time series obtained through electroencephalography (EEG) and give the EEG specific maps for patients suffering from schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease. Capturing the collective coherent spatiotemporal activity of neuronal populations measured by high density EEG is addressed using measures estimating the synchronization within multivariate time series. Our EEG power analysis on schizophrenic patients, which is based on a new parametrization of the multichannel EEG, shows a relative increase of power in alpha rhythm over the anterior brain regions against its reduction over posterior regions. The correlations of these patterns with the clinical picture of schizophrenia as well as discriminating of the schizophrenia patients from normal control subjects supports the concept of hypofrontality in schizophrenia and renders the alpha rhythm as a sensitive marker of it. By applying a multivariate synchronization estimator, called S-estimator, we reveal the whole-head synchronization topography in schizophrenia. Our finding shows bilaterally increased synchronization over temporal brain regions and decreased synchronization over the postcentral/parietal brain regions. The topography is stable over the course of several months as well as over all conventional EEG frequency bands. Moreover, it correlates with the severity of the illness characterized by positive and negative syndrome scales. We also reveal the EEG features specific to early Alzheimer's disease by applying multivariate phase synchronization method. Our analyses result in a specific map characterized by a decrease in the values of phase synchronization over the fronto-temporal and an increase over temporo-parieto-occipital region predominantly of the left hemisphere. These abnormalities in the synchronization maps correlate with the clinical scores associated to the patients and are able to discriminate patients from normal control subjects with high precision.

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