Background: Brain electrical activity is a spatio-temporally distributed process. Cortical imaging techniques have been developed to reconstruct cortical activity from the scalp electroencephalographic or magnetoencephalographic measurements. Several cortical imaging approaches, such as the epicortical potentials and a dipole layer accounting for the cortical activity, have been used to represent brain electrical activity. Methods: A closed cortical dipole layer source model is used to equivalently represent brain electrical activity. The relationship between the primary brain electrical sources and the cortical equivalent dipole layer is derived from the theory of electromagnetics. Computer simulation studies were conducted using a 3-concentric-sphere head model to validate the proposed theory. The cortical equivalent dipole layer imaging approach was tested in both computer simulation and human visual evoked potential (VEP) experiments. Results: The strength of the cortical equivalent dipole layer is shown to be proportional to the electrical potential over the same surface generated by primary electrical sources, had the outer medium been replaced by air. The proposed theory was validated by computer simulation in a discrete system. Simulation and VEP experimental studies suggest the feasibility of applying the cortical equivalent dipole layer imaging approach for brain imaging. Conclusions: The cortical equivalent dipole layer model can equivalently represent the primary brain electrical sources throughout the entire brain surrounded by the dipole layer. The strength of the cortical equivalent dipole layer due to primary sources can be directly calculated according to the theory developed in the present study.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr D. Wu and Dr Y. Wang for useful discussions on the brain inverse problem, and H.C. Tsai for proofreading of the manuscript. This work was supported in part by NSF CAREER Award BES-9875344 and a grant from the Whitaker Foundation.
- Cortical imaging
- Equivalent dipole layer imaging
- Forward problem
- High-resolution electroencephalogram
- Human brain mapping
- Inverse problem
- Visual evoked potential