The purpose of this paper is to describe a framework for the understanding of rules that govern how neural system dynamics are coordinated to produce behavior. The framework, structured flows on manifolds (SFM), posits that neural processes are flows depicting system interactions that occur on relatively low-dimension manifolds, which constrain possible functional configurations. Although this is a general framework, we focus on the application to brain disorders. We first explain the Epileptor, a phenomenological computational model showing fast and slow dynamics, but also a hidden repertoire whose expression is similar to refractory status epilepticus. We suggest that epilepsy represents an innate brain state whose potential may be realized only under certain circumstances. Conversely, deficits from damage or disease processes, such as stroke or dementia, may reflect both the disease process per se and the adaptation of the brain. SFM uniquely captures both scenarios.
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