The Rewiring Brain: A Computational Approach to Structural Plasticity in the Adult Brain
The adult brain is not as hard-wired as traditionally thought. By modifying their small- or large-scale morphology, neurons can make new synaptic connections or break existing ones (structural plasticity). Structural changes accompany memory formation and learning, and are induced by neurogenesis, neurodegeneration and brain injury such as stroke.
Exploring the role of structural plasticity in the brain can be greatly assisted by mathematical and computational models, as they enable us to bridge the gap between system-level dynamics and lower level cellular and molecular processes. However, most traditional neural network models have fixed neuronal morphologies and a static connectivity pattern, with plasticity merely arising from changes in the strength of existing synapses (synaptic plasticity). In The Rewiring Brain, the editors bring together for the first time contemporary modeling studies that investigate the implications of structural plasticity for brain function and pathology. Starting with an experimental background on structural plasticity in the adult brain, the book covers computational studies on homeostatic structural plasticity, the impact of structural plasticity on cognition and cortical connectivity, the interaction between synaptic and structural plasticity, neurogenesis-related structural plasticity, and structural plasticity in neurological disorders.
Structural plasticity adds a whole new dimension to brain plasticity, and The Rewiring Brain shows how computational approaches may help to gain a better understanding of the full adaptive potential of the adult brain. The book is written for both computational and experimental neuroscientists.