Identifying mutual information transfer in the brain with differential-algebraic modeling: Evidence for fast oscillatory coupling between cortical somatosensory areas 3b and 1
Understanding information transfer in the brain is a major challenge in today’s neurosciences. Commonly, information transfer between brain areas is analyzed with the help of correlation measures for electrophysiological data. However, such approaches cannot distinguish between mutual coupling and other mechanisms of creating correlations between responses, such as common input from other sources. Functional coupling is mandatory for information transfer. Here we propose to analyze coupling between active brain areas with the help of models described by a system of differential-algebraic equations. Comparing models with various degrees of coupling, we show that mutual information transfer can be distinguished from one-way information transfer for activated cortical areas estimated by source localization techniques. We exemplify the technique with fast oscillatory activity found in both cortical areas 3b and 1 after peripheral nerve stimulation.