Selective localization of alpha brain activity with neuromagnetic measurements

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1984 Dec;58(6):569-72. doi: 10.1016/0013-4694(84)90047-6.


A method of localizing brain activity by a new combination of magnetic and electrical recording, relative covariance, is described. The successful application of this method to alpha EEG is reported. Spontaneous human brain activity was recorded simultaneously with fixed scalp electrodes and a movable magnetometer. The analysis was restricted to the alpha rhythm, which was selected by a narrow bandpass filter centered at the observed alpha frequency. For each magnetometer location, the ratio of the covariance of the magnetic and electric signals to the electric variance was calculated, producing a map reflecting the magnetic field pattern. Clear maxima of opposite polarity over the left and right parietotemporal areas indicate bilateral current source areas near the midline, in the vicinity of the calcarine fissure, at a depth of 4-6 cm from the scalp. This relative covariance method may prove generally useful in localizing bioelectrical sources such as spontaneous brain rhythms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Electromagnetic Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male