EEG source localization in focal epilepsy: where are we now?

Epilepsia. 2008 Feb;49(2):201-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2007.01381.x. Epub 2007 Oct 15.


Electroencephalographic source localization (ESL) by noninvasive means is an area of renewed interest in clinical epileptology. This has been driven by innovations in the computer-assisted modeling of dipolar and distributed sources for the investigation of focal epilepsy; a process fueled by the ever-increasing computational power available to researchers for the analysis of scalp EEG recordings. However, demonstration of the validity and clinical utility of these mathematically derived source modeling techniques has struggled to keep pace. This review evaluates the current clinical "fitness' of ESL as applied to the focal epilepsies by examining some of the key studies performed in the field, with emphasis given to clinical work published in the last five years. In doing so, we discuss why ESL techniques have not made an impact on routine epilepsy practice, underlining some of the current problems and controversies in the field. We conclude by examining where ESL currently sits alongside magnetoencephalography and combined EEG-functional magnetic resonance imaging in the investigation of focal epilepsy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / surgery
  • Electrodes, Implanted / statistics & numerical data
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / physiopathology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / surgery
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Magnetoencephalography / methods
  • Magnetoencephalography / statistics & numerical data
  • Models, Neurological
  • Preoperative Care
  • Reproducibility of Results