Functional MRI with simultaneous EEG recording: feasibility and application to motor and visual activation
The possibility of combining the high spatial resolution of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with the high temporal resolution of electroencephalography (EEG) may provide a new tool in cognitive neurophysiology, as well as in clinical applications such as epilepsy. However, the simultaneous recording of EEG and fMRI raises important practical problems: 1) the patients' safety, in particular the risk of skin burns due to electrodes heating; 2) the impairment of the EEG recording by the static magnetic field, as well as by RF and magnetic field gradients used during MRI; and 3) the quality of MR images, which may be affected by the presence of conductors and electronic devices in the MRI bore. Here we present our experiences on 19 normal volunteers who underwent combined fMRI and 16-channel EEG examination. Consistent with previous reports, safety could be assured when performing EEG recordings during fMRI acquisition. Electrophysiological signals recorded with surface EEG were similar inside and outside the 1.5 T magnet. Furthermore, fMRI using motor or visual tasks revealed similar areas of activation when performed with and without 16-channel EEG recording. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2001;13:943-948.