EEG and MEG primers for tracking DBS network effects

Neuroimage. 2021 Jan 1;224:117447. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117447. Epub 2020 Oct 12.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective treatment method for a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders. It involves implantation of stimulating electrodes in a precisely guided fashion into subcortical structures and, at a later stage, chronic stimulation of these structures with an implantable pulse generator. While the DBS surgery makes it possible to both record brain activity and stimulate parts of the brain that are difficult to reach with non-invasive techniques, electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) provide complementary information from other brain areas, which can be used to characterize brain networks targeted through DBS. This requires, however, the careful consideration of different types of artifacts in the data acquisition and the subsequent analyses. Here, we review both the technical issues associated with EEG/MEG recordings in DBS patients and the experimental findings to date. One major line of research is simultaneous recording of local field potentials (LFPs) from DBS targets and EEG/MEG. These studies revealed a set of cortico-subcortical coherent networks functioning at distinguishable physiological frequencies. Specific network responses were linked to clinical state, task or stimulation parameters. Another experimental approach is mapping of DBS-targeted networks in chronically implanted patients by recording EEG/MEG responses during stimulation. One can track responses evoked by single stimulation pulses or bursts as well as brain state shifts caused by DBS. These studies have the potential to provide biomarkers for network responses that can be adapted to guide stereotactic implantation or optimization of stimulation parameters. This is especially important for diseases where the clinical effect of DBS is delayed or develops slowly over time. The same biomarkers could also potentially be utilized for the online control of DBS network effects in the new generation of closed-loop stimulators that are currently entering clinical use. Through future studies, the use of network biomarkers may facilitate the integration of circuit physiology into clinical decision making.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Dystonia / physiopathology*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Neural Pathways / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*