The pathological phenomena of seizures and spreading depression have long been considered separate physiological events in the brain. By incorporating conservation of particles and charge, and accounting for the energy required to restore ionic gradients, we extend the classic Hodgkin-Huxley formalism to uncover a unification of neuronal membrane dynamics. By examining the dynamics as a function of potassium and oxygen, we now account for a wide range of neuronal activities, from spikes to seizures, spreading depression (whether high potassium or hypoxia induced), mixed seizure and spreading depression states, and the terminal anoxic "wave of death." Such a unified framework demonstrates that all of these dynamics lie along a continuum of the repertoire of the neuron membrane. Our results demonstrate that unified frameworks for neuronal dynamics are feasible, can be achieved using existing biological structures and universal physical conservation principles, and may be of substantial importance in enabling our understanding of brain activity and in the control of pathological states.
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