A methodological framework for inverse-modeling of propagating cortical activity using MEG/EEG

Rikkert Hindriks*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The prevailing view on the dynamics of large-scale electrical activity in the human cortex is that it constitutes a functional network of discrete and localized circuits. Within this view, a natural way to analyse magnetoencephalographic (MEG) and electroencephalographic (EEG) data is by adopting methods from network theory. Invasive recordings, however, demonstrate that cortical activity is spatially continuous, rather than discrete, and exhibits propagation behavior. Furthermore, human cortical activity is known to propagate under a variety of conditions such as non-REM sleep, general anesthesia, and coma. Although several MEG/EEG studies have investigated propagating cortical activity, not much is known about the conditions under which such activity can be successfully reconstructed from MEG/EEG sensor-data. This study provides a methodological framework for inverse-modeling of propagating cortical activity. Within this framework, cortical activity is represented in the spatial frequency domain, which is more natural than the dipole domain when dealing with spatially continuous activity. We define angular power spectra, which show how the power of cortical activity is distributed across spatial frequencies, angular gain/phase spectra, which characterize the spatial filtering properties of linear inverse operators, and angular resolution matrices, which summarize how linear inverse operators leak signal within and across spatial frequencies. We adopt the framework to provide insight into the performance of several linear inverse operators in reconstructing propagating cortical activity from MEG/EEG sensor-data. We also describe how prior spatial frequency information can be incorporated into the inverse-modeling to obtain better reconstructions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117345
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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