Non-invasive recording from the human olfactory bulb

Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 31;11(1):648. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-14520-9.


Current non-invasive neuroimaging methods can assess neural activity in all areas of the human brain but the olfactory bulb (OB). The OB has been suggested to fulfill a role comparable to that of V1 and the thalamus in the visual system and have been closely linked to a wide range of olfactory tasks and neuropathologies. Here we present a method for non-invasive recording of signals from the human OB with millisecond precision. We demonstrate that signals obtained via recordings from EEG electrodes at the nasal bridge represent responses from the human olfactory bulb - recordings we term Electrobulbogram (EBG). The EBG will aid future olfactory-related translational work but can also potentially be implemented as an everyday clinical tool to detect pathology-related changes in human central olfactory processing in neurodegenerative diseases. In conclusion, the EBG is localized to the OB, is reliable, and follows response patterns demonstrated in non-human animal models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Olfactory Bulb / chemistry*
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Young Adult