AUTHORS: Seeber M, Cantonas L, Hoevels M, Sesia T, Visser-Vandewalle V, Michel C

Nature Communications, 10(1): 753, February 2019


Subcortical neuronal activity is highly relevant for mediating communication in large-scale brain networks. While electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings provide appropriate temporal resolution and coverage to study whole brain dynamics, the feasibility to detect subcortical signals is a matter of debate. Here, we investigate if scalp EEG can detect and correctly localize signals recorded with intracranial electrodes placed in the centromedial thalamus, and in the nucleus accumbens. Externalization of deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes, placed in these regions, provides the unique opportunity to record subcortical activity simultaneously with high-density (256 channel) scalp EEG. In three patients during rest with eyes closed, we found significant correlation between alpha envelopes derived from intracranial and EEG source reconstructed signals. Highest correlation was found for source signals in close proximity to the actual recording sites, given by the DBS electrode locations. Therefore, we present direct evidence that scalp EEG indeed can sense subcortical signals.

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