Few models exist that accurately reproduce the complex rhythms of the thalamocortical system that are apparent in measured scalp EEG and at the same time, are suitable for large-scale simulations of brain activity. Here, we present a neural mass model of the thalamocortical system during natural non-REM sleep, which is able to generate fast sleep spindles (12–15 Hz), slow oscillations (<1 Hz) and K-complexes, as well as their distinct temporal relations, and response to auditory stimuli. We show that with the inclusion of detailed calcium currents, the thalamic neural mass model is able to generate different firing modes, and validate the model with EEG-data from a recent sleep study in humans, where closed-loop auditory stimulation was applied. The model output relates directly to the EEG, which makes it a useful basis to develop new stimulation protocols.
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