While the Blue Brain folk want to construct an incredibly detailed model of a single cortical column, a recent paper by Izhikevich and Edelman (Large-scale model of mammalian thalamocortical systems) reports on a less detailed model of the entire human thalamocortical system.
Some of the details of their model (roughly from large-scale to lower scale) include:
1. The cortical sheet’s geometry was constructed from human MRI data.
2. Projections among cortical regions were modeled using data from diffusion tensor MRI of the human brain (above image is Figure 1 of the paper showing a subset of such connections).
3. Synaptic connectivity patterns among neurons within and between cortical layers are based on detailed studies of cat visual cortex (and iterated to all of cortex).
4. Individual neurons are not modelled using the relatively computationally intensive Hodgkin-Huxely models, but a species of integrate-and-fire neuron that included a variable threshold, short-term synaptic plasticity, and long term spike-timing dependent plasticity.
5. The only subcortical structure included in the model is the thalamus, but the model does include simple simulated neuromodulatory influences (dopamine, acetylcholine).
Link to the full post BY ERIC THOMSON IN NEUROCHANNELS BLOG AT 2/25/2008 03:20:00 PM