Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How to read brain activity with an EEG

Date:
December 9, 2009
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
The electroencephalogram is widely used by physicians and scientists to study brain function and to diagnose neurological disorders. However, it has remained largely unknown whether the electrodes on the head give an exact view of what is happening inside the brain. Scientists have now found a crucial link between the activity generated within the brain to that measured with EEG.

The electroencephalogram (EEG) is widely used by physicians and scientists to study brain function and to diagnose neurological disorders.
Credit: Kevin Whittingstall

The electroencephalogram (EEG) is widely used by physicians and scientists to study brain function and to diagnose neurological disorders. However, it has remained largely unknown whether the electrodes on the head give an exact view of what is happening inside the brain.

Related Articles


Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tόbingen, Germany, have now found a crucial link between the activity generated within the brain to that measured with EEG. These findings will provide a better understanding of the waveforms measured with EEG, and thus potentially allow for a better diagnosis and subsequent treatment of patients. 

The electroencephalogram (EEG) has been widely used in research and medicine for more than 80 years. The ability to measure the electrical activity in the brain by means of electrodes on the head is a handy tool to study brain functions as it is noninvasive and easy to apply. The interpretation of the EEG signals remains, however, difficult. The main reason for this is that the exact relationship between the activity generated in the brain compared to that measured on the scalp is unclear. Therefore, a question of paramount practical importance is how EEG can be used to deduce neural activity in the brain. Recently, Kevin Whittingstall and Nikos Logothetis from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tubingen have addressed this very question for the first time.

By combining recordings of both EEG and individual neurons in trained monkeys, Whittingstall and Logothetis found that a combination of specific waves in the EEG could indeed reliably predict the activity of cells in the brain. They presented different movie clips consisting of everyday natural scenes to trained monkeys. While the monkeys watched, their brain activity was recorded via EEG and via electrodes that were placed directly on the neurons, thus allowing for a direct comparison between data sets. Specifically, they observed that the firing pattern of cells was highest during periods where bursts of 'fast' EEG activity were embedded within the slow-wave EEG. As the degree of this so-called 'frequency band coupling' changed, so also did the cells firing rate.

"We succeeded in identifying which aspects of the EEG best represent changes in the activity from a population of neurons in the brain," explains Kevin Whittingstall. "With this information, we can now move to better understand the cause of abnormal EEG waveforms in patients with certain neurological disorders."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Whittingstall et al. Frequency-Band Coupling in Surface EEG Reflects Spiking Activity in Monkey Visual Cortex. Neuron, 2009; 64 (2): 281 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.08.016

Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "How to read brain activity with an EEG." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091204103751.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2009, December 9). How to read brain activity with an EEG. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091204103751.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "How to read brain activity with an EEG." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091204103751.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) — If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) — People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins