Magnetoencephalography for brain electrophysiology and imaging

Nat Neurosci. 2017 Feb 23;20(3):327-339. doi: 10.1038/nn.4504.


We review the aspects that uniquely characterize magnetoencephalography (MEG) among the techniques available to explore and resolve brain function and dysfunction. While emphasizing its specific strengths in terms of millisecond source imaging, we also identify and discuss current practical challenges, in particular in signal extraction and interpretation. We also take issue with some perceived disadvantages of MEG, including the misconception that the technique is redundant with electroencephalography. Overall, MEG contributes uniquely to our deeper comprehension of both regional and large-scale brain dynamics: from the functions of neural oscillations and the nature of event-related brain activation, to the mechanisms of functional connectivity between regions and the emergence of modes of network communication in brain systems. We expect MEG to play an increasing and pivotal role in the elucidation of these grand mechanistic principles of cognitive, systems and clinical neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Magnetoencephalography* / methods