Invasive recordings from the human brain: clinical insights and beyond

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2005 Jan;6(1):35-47. doi: 10.1038/nrn1585.


Although non-invasive methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalograms and magnetoencephalograms provide most of the current data about the human brain, their resolution is insufficient to show physiological processes at the cellular level. Clinical approaches sometimes allow invasive recordings to be taken from the human brain, mainly in patients with epilepsy or with movement disorders, and such recordings can sample neural activity at spatial scales ranging from single cells to distributed cell assemblies. In addition to their clinical relevance, these recordings can provide unique insights into brain functions such as movement control, perception, memory, language and even consciousness.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Electroencephalography / instrumentation
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetoencephalography / instrumentation
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods
  • Stereotaxic Techniques / instrumentation