"The Basal Ganglia as a Complex system as it Relates to Normal Movement and Movement Disorders."
The purpose of this work is to explore a part of the brain known as the basal ganglia using the conceptual approach of complex system dynamics as it relates to both structure and function. Traditional approaches have modeled the basal ganglia as a simple circuit utilizing methods of reductionism to study the parts and connections. Studies of complex systems, on the other hand, focus not only on behavior of the individual parts but how they interact with each other to produce the behavior of the system as a whole. From this point of view, the basal ganglia can be described as a highly interconnected group of nuclei that integrates many inputs that function to allow the performance of purposeful movement. Our exploration will outline the components of the basal ganglia, the interactions between the components, the collective behavior as it relates to normal function, and the relationship between the basal ganglia system and its environment within the brain. In addition, changes in the states of the system will be described as they relate to both disease states, such as Parkinson’s disease, and therapeutic strategies, such as deep brain stimulation. Increasing our understanding of the basal ganglia as a complex system, rather than as a simple circuit, may provide greater opportunity to develop better treatments for movement disorders.