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New system developed to analyse EEG recordings

29 June, 2005

A new method of improving the readings of EEG recordings has been developed by researchers at the University of Oregon.

Dr
Don Tucker, professor of psychology at the university, said that
signals of electrical activity in the human brain become distorted when
they pass through the skull, meaning that measurements of brain
activity using electrodes attached to the skull, such as an EEG
(electroencephalograph), produce "a smeared picture of brain activity'.

The
researchers claim that this distortion hinders treatments that require
precision in locating brain electrical activity and so, to correct for
the distortion. One current solution is for doctors to approximate the
source of electrical signals by analysing and averaging EEG readings
collected over extended periods of time, or open the skull and attach
sensors directly to the inner cranium.

University of Oregon scientists have used high-performance computing to
eliminate the distortion caused by the skull. They have developed a
computational algorithm to translate data generated by an EEG into a
three-dimensional model that pinpoints the location of the activity.
This could lead to a doctor using this "functional image" to make a
medical decision.

Dr Tucker added:

"This
new computational advance gives us a window on the brain that could be
a breakthrough in the precision of localizing the brain's electrical
activity.'