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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00531

Influence of head tissue conductivity uncertainties on EEG dipole reconstruction

  • 1Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, University of Utah, United States
  • 2Institute for Biomagnetism and Biosignalanalysis, University of Münster, Germany
  • 3UMIT - Private Universität für Gesundheitswissenschaften, Medizinische Informatik und Technik, Austria
  • 4Concordia University, Canada
  • 5Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Utah, United States
  • 6Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of Utah, United States
  • 7Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Utah, United States
  • 8Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, University of Utah, United States

Reliable EEG source analysis depends on sufficiently detailed and accurate head models. In this study, we investigate how uncertainties inherent to the experimentally determined conductivity values of the different conductive compartments influence the results of EEG source analysis.
In a single source scenario, the superficial and focal somatosensory P20/N20 component, we analyze the influence of varying conductivities on dipole reconstructions using a generalized polynomial chaos (gPC) approach. We find that in particular the conductivity uncertainties for skin and skull have a significant influence on the EEG inverse solution, leading to variations in source localization by several centimeters. The conductivity uncertainties for gray and white matter were found to have little influence on the source localization, but a strong influence on the strength and orientation of the reconstructed source, respectively. As the CSF conductivity is most accurately determined of all conductivities in a realistic head model, CSF conductivity uncertainties had a negligible influence on the source reconstruction. This small uncertainty is a further benefit of distinguishing the CSF in realistic volume conductor models.

Keywords: EEG source analysis, EEG dipole reconstruction, head modeling, Sensitivity analyis, conductivity uncertainties, Conductivity estimation, Finite element method

Received: 16 Jan 2019; Accepted: 08 May 2019.

Edited by:

Takashi Hanakawa, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (Japan), Japan

Reviewed by:

Okito Yamashita, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), Japan
Victoria E. Montes Restrepo, VU University Medical Center, Netherlands  

Copyright: © 2019 Vorwerk, Aydin, Wolters and Butson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Christopher R. Butson, Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 84112, Utah, United States,