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I. Osorio, M. G. Frei, D. Sornette, J. Milton and Y-C Lai. 2010. Epileptic seizures: Quakes of the brain?. Physical Rev E 82: 021919. Full Article

A dynamical analogy supported by five scale-free statistics (the Gutenberg-Richter distribution of event sizes, the distribution of inter-event intervals, the Omori and inverse Omori laws and the conditional waiting time until the next event), is shown to exist between two classes of seizures (“focal” in humans and generalized in animals) and earthquakes. Increments in excitatory inter-neuronal coupling in animals exposes the system’s dependence on this parameter and its dynamical transmutability: moderate increases lead to power law behavior of seizure energy and inter-event times, while marked ones to scale-free (power law) coextensive with characteristic scales and events. The co-extensivity of power law and characteristic size regimes is predicted by models of coupled heterogeneous threshold oscillators of relaxation and underscores the role of coupling strength in shaping the dynamics of these systems.

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