Mapping human brain function with MEG and EEG: methods and validation

Neuroimage. 2004;23 Suppl 1:S289-99. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.07.014.


We survey the field of magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG) source estimation. These modalities offer the potential for functional brain mapping with temporal resolution in the millisecond range. However, the limited number of spatial measurements and the ill-posedness of the inverse problem present significant limits to our ability to produce accurate spatial maps from these data without imposing major restrictions on the form of the inverse solution. Here we describe approaches to solving the forward problem of computing the mapping from putative inverse solutions into the data space. We then describe the inverse problem in terms of low dimensional solutions, based on the equivalent current dipole (ECD), and high dimensional solutions, in which images of neural activation are constrained to the cerebral cortex. We also address the issue of objective assessment of the relative performance of inverse procedures by the free-response receiver operating characteristic (FROC) curve. We conclude with a discussion of methods for assessing statistical significance of experimental results through use of the bootstrap for determining confidence regions in dipole-fitting methods, and random field (RF) and permutation methods for detecting significant activation in cortically constrained imaging studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Head / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods*
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Neurological
  • Reproducibility of Results