Comparison of the properties of EEG and MEG in detecting the electric activity of the brain

Brain Topogr. 2012 Jan;25(1):1-19. doi: 10.1007/s10548-011-0202-1. Epub 2011 Sep 13.


Since the detection of the first biomagnetic signals in 1963 there has been continuous discussion on the properties and relative merits of bioelectric and biomagnetic measurements. In this review article it is briefly discussed the early history of this controversy. Then the theory of the independence and interdependence of bioelectric and biomagnetic signals is explained, and a clinical study on ECG and MCG that strongly supports this theory is presented. The spatial resolutions of EEG and MEG are compared in detail, and the issue of the maximum number of electrodes in EEG is also discussed. Finally, some special properties of EEG and MEG methods are described. In brief, the conclusion is that EEG and MEG are only partially independent and their spatial resolutions are about the same. Recording both of them brings some additional information on the bioelectric activity of the brain. These two methods have certain unique properties that make either of them more beneficial in certain applications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Electrocardiography / methods
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Neurological
  • Statistics as Topic