Modeling neural activity with cumulative damage distributions

Víctor Leiva, Mauricio Tejo, Pierre Guiraud, Oliver Schmachtenberg, Patricio Orio, Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Neurons transmit information as action potentials or spikes. Due to the inherent randomness of the inter-spike intervals (ISIs), probabilistic models are often used for their description. Cumulative damage (CD) distributions are a family of probabilistic models that has been widely considered for describing time-related cumulative processes. This family allows us to consider certain deterministic principles for modeling ISIs from a probabilistic viewpoint and to link its parameters to values with biological interpretation. The CD family includes the Birnbaum–Saunders and inverse Gaussian distributions, which possess distinctive properties and theoretical arguments useful for ISI description. We expand the use of CD distributions to the modeling of neural spiking behavior, mainly by testing the suitability of the Birnbaum–Saunders distribution, which has not been studied in the setting of neural activity. We validate this expansion with original experimental and simulated electrophysiological data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-433
Number of pages13
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 24 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Birnbaum–Saunders and inverse Gaussian distributions
  • Integrate-and-fire model
  • Inter-spike intervals
  • Maximum likelihood method
  • Model selection and goodness of fit


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