Differences in MEG/EEG Epileptic Spike Yields Explained by Regional Differences in Signal-to-Noise Ratios

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Abstract

Abstract:

Controversy remains regarding the preferred modality, magnetoencephalography (MEG) or EEG, for the presurgical evaluation of patients with epilepsy. In general, it appears that the spike yields for MEG and EEG are similar in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, and that for neocortical epilepsy the MEG spike yields may be larger than for EEG. In general, MEG/EEG spike yields depend on factors such as (1) the number of sensors, (2) the source depth and orientation, (3) the background activity, and (4) the smearing of the potential fields due to variations in skull resistivity in EEG. Because the contribution of all these factors are of the same order of magnitude, the authors took them all into account to predict the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of hypothetical spikes in different brain areas. In this study, it was assumed that spike sensitivity (and therefore the spike yield) increases with SNR. The estimated SNR values at temporal areas were comparable for MEG and EEG, which is in agreement with clinical findings that spike yields in temporal lobe epilepsy are similar. Furthermore, the SNR of MEG was substantially higher in the frontal area, indicating that in frontal lobe epilepsy MEG may be highly relevant to prescreening of epilepsy patients. This model-based approach indicates that SNR mapping clarifies differences between MEG and EEG findings that are difficult to understand on the basis of patient studies only.

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