Online detection and sorting of extracellularly recorded action potentials in human medial temporal lobe recordings, in vivo

J Neurosci Methods. 2006 Jun 30;154(1-2):204-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2005.12.033. Epub 2006 Feb 20.


Understanding the function of complex cortical circuits requires the simultaneous recording of action potentials from many neurons in awake and behaving animals. Practically, this can be achieved by extracellularly recording from multiple brain sites using single wire electrodes. However, in densely packed neural structures such as the human hippocampus, a single electrode can record the activity of multiple neurons. Thus, analytic techniques that differentiate action potentials of different neurons are required. Offline spike sorting approaches are currently used to detect and sort action potentials after finishing the experiment. Because the opportunities to record from the human brain are relatively rare, it is desirable to analyze large numbers of simultaneous recordings quickly using online sorting and detection algorithms. In this way, the experiment can be optimized for the particular response properties of the recorded neurons. Here we present and evaluate a method that is capable of detecting and sorting extracellular single-wire recordings in realtime. We demonstrate the utility of the method by applying it to an extensive data set we acquired from chronically implanted depth electrodes in the hippocampus of human epilepsy patients. This dataset is particularly challenging because it was recorded in a noisy clinical environment. This method will allow the development of "closed-loop" experiments, which immediately adapt the experimental stimuli and/or tasks to the neural response observed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Algorithms
  • Artifacts
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Databases, Factual
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Extracellular Space / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Online Systems
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*