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J Neurophysiol. 2010 Nov;104(5):2451-61. doi: 10.1152/jn.00239.2010. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

Decoding and cortical source localization for intended movement direction with MEG.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Magnetoencephalography (MEG) enables a noninvasive interface with the brain that is potentially capable of providing movement-related information similar to that obtained using more invasive neural recording techniques. Previous studies have shown that movement direction can be decoded from multichannel MEG signals recorded in humans performing wrist movements. We studied whether this information can be extracted without overt movement of the subject, because the targeted users of brain-controlled interface (BCI) technology are those with severe motor disabilities. The objectives of this study were twofold: 1) to decode intended movement direction from MEG signals recorded during the planning period before movement onset and during imagined movement and 2) to localize cortical sources modulated by intended movement direction. Ten able-bodied subjects performed both overt and imagined wrist movement while their cortical activities were recorded using a whole head MEG system. The intended movement direction was decoded using linear discriminant analysis and a Bayesian classifier. Minimum current estimation (MCE) in combination with a bootstrapping procedure enabled source-space statistical analysis, which showed that the contralateral motor cortical area was significantly modulated by intended movement direction, and this modulation was the strongest ∼100 ms before the onset of overt movement. These results suggest that it is possible to study cortical representation of specific movement information using MEG, and such studies may aid in presurgical localization of optimal sites for implanting electrodes for BCI systems.

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