Atlas of the normal intracranial electroencephalogram: neurophysiological awake activity in different cortical areas

Brain. 2018 Apr 1;141(4):1130-1144. doi: 10.1093/brain/awy035.


In contrast to scalp EEG, our knowledge of the normal physiological intracranial EEG activity is scarce. This multicentre study provides an atlas of normal intracranial EEG of the human brain during wakefulness. Here we present the results of power spectra analysis during wakefulness. Intracranial electrodes are placed in or on the brain of epilepsy patients when candidates for surgical treatment and non-invasive approaches failed to sufficiently localize the epileptic focus. Electrode contacts are usually in cortical regions showing epileptic activity, but some are placed in normal regions, at distance from the epileptogenic zone or lesion. Intracranial EEG channels defined using strict criteria as very likely to be in healthy brain regions were selected from three tertiary epilepsy centres. All contacts were localized in a common stereotactic space allowing the accumulation and superposition of results from many subjects. Sixty-second artefact-free sections during wakefulness were selected. Power spectra were calculated for 38 brain regions, and compared to a set of channels with no spectral peaks in order to identify significant peaks in the different regions. A total of 1785 channels with normal brain activity from 106 patients were identified. There were on average 2.7 channels per cm3 of cortical grey matter. The number of contacts per brain region averaged 47 (range 6-178). We found significant differences in the spectral density distributions across the different brain lobes, with beta activity in the frontal lobe (20-24 Hz), a clear alpha peak in the occipital lobe (9.25-10.25 Hz), intermediate alpha (8.25-9.25 Hz) and beta (17-20 Hz) frequencies in the parietal lobe, and lower alpha (7.75-8.25 Hz) and delta (0.75-2.25 Hz) peaks in the temporal lobe. Some cortical regions showed a specific electrophysiological signature: peaks present in >60% of channels were found in the precentral gyrus (lateral: peak frequency range, 20-24 Hz; mesial: 24-30 Hz), opercular part of the inferior frontal gyrus (20-24 Hz), cuneus (7.75-8.75 Hz), and hippocampus (0.75-1.25 Hz). Eight per cent of all analysed channels had more than one spectral peak; these channels were mostly recording from sensory and motor regions. Alpha activity was not present throughout the occipital lobe, and some cortical regions showed peaks in delta activity during wakefulness. This is the first atlas of normal intracranial EEG activity; it includes dense coverage of all cortical regions in a common stereotactic space, enabling direct comparisons of EEG across subjects. This atlas provides a normative baseline against which clinical EEGs and experimental results can be compared. It is provided as an open web resource (https://mni-open-ieegatlas.


Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Electrocorticography / methods*
  • Electrodes
  • Epilepsy / diagnostic imaging
  • Epilepsy / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroimaging
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Wakefulness
  • Young Adult