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A self-adaptive burst-detection algorithm

A self-adaptive, time-scale invariant single-unit spike train analysis technique is introduced to detect burst firings in neurons. This burst-detection method is an adaptive algorithm that uses the characteristic firing patterns statistics within and between bursts to identify the inter-burst period, intra-burst period and burst duration. Bursts in this self-adaptive method are identified when the inter-burst periods (interspike intervals between bursts) exceed a threshold for the intra-burst periods (the sum of interspike intervals within a burst). Iterative use of this algorithm can also be used for the detection of finer structure of bursts, i.e., micro-bursts within a macro-burst, independent of the time-scale. By iterative-use of timing statistics of the spike train, this burst-detection technique can identify bursts not only self-adaptively but also independent of the time-scale of the burst-firing pattern. This auto-adaptive algorithm provides a time-scale invariant automated method for micro-burst within a macro-burst when applied iteratively. It succeeds to detect various micro-bursts with minimal ad hoc assumptions or criteria about the specific structure of the burst-firing patterns in neurons.

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Correspondence to David Tam.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Tam, D. A self-adaptive burst-detection algorithm. BMC Neurosci 8, P75 (2007).

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  • Specific Structure
  • Automate Method
  • Timing Statistic
  • Spike Train
  • Adaptive Algorithm