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Clin EEG Neurosci. 2008 Apr;39(2):61-4.

Simultaneous EEG-fMRI: perspectives in psychiatry.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Munich, Germany.


Neurophysiological findings such as reduced amplitudes of the P300 potential in patients with schizophrenia are among the most robust findings in biological psychiatry. An enormous literature with findings of abnormal central processing in psychiatric diseases has been acquired during the last decades. However, the benefit of this research has been limited in part due to the unresolved problem of precise and correct localization of the underlying neural generators. The difficulty of correct localization is due to the fact that different constellations of cortical neuroelectric generators can produce identical EEG activity. Therefore, even concerning several major event related potentials no generally accepted knowledge about their cerebral generation exists. While correct localization can easily be obtained by imaging methods based on hemodynamic changes such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), these techniques can not distinguish between different aspects of neural activity such as oscillation modes or stages of information processing that are only some milliseconds apart. Accordingly, the integration of simultaneous measurements of EEG and fMRI has become a methodological key issue today. EEG-fMRI may prove to be crucial in providing much deeper understanding of brain activity over the next decades. This review summarizes the basic physiology, methodological issues and interesting applications in psychiatry.

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