Hide/Show Apps

Optimal reference electrode selection for electric source imaging

Gençer, Nevzat Güneri
Williamson, S.J.
One goal of recording voltages on the scalp is to form images of electrical sources across the cerebral cortex (electric source imaging). In this study, an objective criterion is introduced for selecting the optimal location for the reference electrode to attain the maximum spatial resolution of the source image, for example as provided here by the truncated singular value decomposition pseudo-inverse solution. The head model features a realistic cortex within a 3-shell conductive sphere, and pyramidal cell activity is represented by 9104 normal current elements distributed across the cortical area. On the scalp, 234 electrodes provide the measurements with respect to a chosen reference electrode. The effects of the reference electrode when located at the mastoid, occipital pole, vertex or center of the head are analyzed by a singular value decomposition of the lead field matrices. Sensitivity to noise, and hence the spatial resolution, is found to depend on characteristics of the lead field matrix are determined by the choice of the image source surface, electrode array and location of the reference electrode. Using a reference close to a source surface increases the sensitivity of the measurement system in identifying the nearby activity of low spatial frequency content. However, this feature is compromised by a reduction in spatial resolution for distant cortical areas due to noise in the measurement. A new performance measure, the image sensitivity map, is introduced to identify the cortical regions that provide peak image sensitivity. This measure may be exploited in designing the geometry of an electrode array and selecting the location of the reference electrode to follow the activity on a specific area of the cortical surface.