We had a workshop on “Cortical Spreading Depression (CSD) and Related Neurological Phenomena” at the Fields Institute in Toronto, Canada. All talks are available online here. CSD is a phenomemon that links neuronal activity in the brain during migraine with aura to stroke and epilepsy. The common factor is disturbed ion homeostasis in the cortex. The Fields Institute in Toronto is an international centre for research in mathematical sciences, which may sound surprising as this workshop is seemingly about neurology. In fact, we had and needed... Read more
ABOUT Markus Dahlem
Markus A. Dahlem studied physics in Germany. He worked in mathematical biology, biomedical engineering, computational neuroscience, and neurology in the US, Brazil, Great Britain, and Germany.
Having broad expertise in both mathematics and neurology, he is interested in neuromodulatory techniques that begin to revolutionize the treatment of patients with refractory primary headaches.
Together with Klaus Podoll he founded the Migraine Aura Foundation, a non-profit organization, with the goal to provide material that helps patients to recognize and understand their neurological symptoms during migraine.
Currently, he is at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in the Cardiovascular Physics Lab leading an independedd research group "Dynamics and Neuromodulation of Migraine" supported by the Bernstein Network within a German-USA Collaboration in Computational Neuroscience.
Markus Dahlem: All Posts
We have a new paper out: N. Hübel, E. Schöll, and M.A. Dahlem, Bistable Dynamics Underlying Excitability of Ion Homeostasis in Neuron Models, PLOS Comp. Biol. 10, e1003551, 2014. With this paper, we hope to set the stage for modeling a phenomenon known as “spreading depression”. Spreading depression is neither It's an unfortunate name because spreading depression is neither. It's not a process that does spread out like perfume spreads around a room or a particle wave packet spreads out in free space. We would... Read more
Is eating chocolate a migraine trigger or a symptom? We put a new manuscript on arxiv. Its central message is that in migraine we should expect a blurring of usually opposing distinctions such as trigger and symptom. Migraine is an inherently dynamical disease with a complex network of interdependent events. There is no linear course from upstream to downstream events. In this manuscript, we describe a behavior caused by a ‘tipping point’ and how it explains causality confusion between triggers... Read more
We put a new manuscript on arxiv. Niklas Hübel and I investigate an extension to the classical theory by Hodgkin and Huxley (Nobel Prize 1963) that in its original version describes nerve impulses (spikes). Spikes manifest communication between nerve cells. Their underlying mechanism is an all-or-non phenomenon, also called “excitability”. Excitability as a mechanism describes how a certain excitable state persists for some time following an input signal, a suprathreshold stimulation that, however, is terminated at some point long before... Read more
“It's like something you'd see on Star Trek”. That's how it was described five years ago in this video: therapeutic magnetic stimulation in migraine. This technique is investigated for much longer. Now, yesterday, the FDA allowed marketing of the first transcranial magnetic stimulator for migraine with aura. And only for migraine with aura, as I understand it—I will get back to this point. The decision is based on a new study published in “Headache” that concludes: “Two decades of clinical experience with sTMS [single... Read more
In a new paper, we suggest how to integrate methods form computational neuroscience with neuromodulation (i.e., electrical and magnetic stimulation of the brain) for the next generation of non-drug treatment in migraine. In particular, we propose a strategy to employ the new theoretical concept of dynamical network biomarkers as early-warning signals being utilized for neuromodulation. What is a dynamical network biomarker? It is a specific signal that occurs during transitions. Migraine is mainly characterized by sudden and recurrent transitions into episodes... Read more
Our whole brain was in a hot stressed state, Then nearly fourteen minutes ago expansion started. Wait... The skin began to cool, The eyes began to fool, The pain developed cruel, We closed the door (we switched off the light), Photophobia, phonophobia, nausea, raveling mysteries, That all started with the big bang! I have a recent paper in the The Journal of Mathematical Neuroscience that looks into the nucleation and subsequent growth processes of cortical ion imbalances (MAD and T. Isele: Transient localized wave... Read more
New paper on the arXiv. Theoretical neuroscience complements experimental and clinical neuroscience. We provide a theoretical analysis of a second-generation Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) formalism, that has been used before in models for muscle cells (myocytes) and pancreatic beta-cells, but not in models of brain cells (neurons) to better understand pathological stress conditions in migraine and stroke. The HH formulation of action potentials is certainly one of the most successful models in mathematical biology. It describes an essential part of cell-to-cell communication... Read more
Would you dare script the mother say, “I lied, I don’t really have breast cancer”? Two days ago, a petition on Change.org appeared that I would like you to consider signing. Change.org is the go-to site for Web uprisings and although I support several petitions there, I usually do not blog about it. This case is different as many might not even see the problem, which makes it a rather perfidious problem deserving more attention. First, let me cite from... Read more
Are their any signs of heightened consciousness in dying brains? Or is it just a wave of death as others have called it—more sober: a latency to unconsciousness. A new study  suggests exactly that, namely heightened consciousness in rats after cardiac arrest. First of all, whatever the brain's briefly lasting (~30s) high frequency oscillations mean, they are not new. The paper—though an elegant study with some new results from what I can see on the first glimpse—seems to completely... Read more