Brain Topography

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 162–181 | Cite as

Localization Accuracy of Distributed Inverse Solutions for Electric and Magnetic Source Imaging of Interictal Epileptic Discharges in Patients with Focal Epilepsy

  • Marcel Heers
  • Rasheda A. Chowdhury
  • Tanguy Hedrich
  • François Dubeau
  • Jeffery A. Hall
  • Jean-Marc Lina
  • Christophe Grova
  • Eliane Kobayashi
Original Paper


Distributed inverse solutions aim to realistically reconstruct the origin of interictal epileptic discharges (IEDs) from noninvasively recorded electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals. Our aim was to compare the performance of different distributed inverse solutions in localizing IEDs: coherent maximum entropy on the mean (cMEM), hierarchical Bayesian implementations of independent identically distributed sources (IID, minimum norm prior) and spatially coherent sources (COH, spatial smoothness prior). Source maxima (i.e., the vertex with the maximum source amplitude) of IEDs in 14 EEG and 19 MEG studies from 15 patients with focal epilepsy were analyzed. We visually compared their concordance with intracranial EEG (iEEG) based on 17 cortical regions of interest and their spatial dispersion around source maxima. Magnetic source imaging (MSI) maxima from cMEM were most often confirmed by iEEG (cMEM: 14/19, COH: 9/19, IID: 8/19 studies). COH electric source imaging (ESI) maxima co-localized best with iEEG (cMEM: 8/14, COH: 11/14, IID: 10/14 studies). In addition, cMEM was less spatially spread than COH and IID for ESI and MSI (p < 0.001 Bonferroni-corrected post hoc t test). Highest positive predictive values for cortical regions with IEDs in iEEG could be obtained with cMEM for MSI and with COH for ESI. Additional realistic EEG/MEG simulations confirmed our findings. Accurate spatially extended sources, as found in cMEM (ESI and MSI) and COH (ESI) are desirable for source imaging of IEDs because this might influence surgical decision. Our simulations suggest that COH and IID overestimate the spatial extent of the generators compared to cMEM.


Electroencephalography (EEG) Electric source imaging (ESI) Focal epilepsy Intracranial EEG Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Magnetic source imaging (MSI) 



The authors thank Ms. Manon Robert for her excellent assistance in EEG/MEG data acquisition. This project was supported by the CIHR (MOP-93614), Fonds de la recherche en santé du Quebec, Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR), American Epilepsy Society Early Career Physicians-Scientist Award and by the Savoy-Foundation. MH currently receives funding from the BrainLinks-BrainTools Cluster of Excellence funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, grant number EXC 1086), which has not however supported any data acquisition or analysis related to the study.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors states any conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcel Heers
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rasheda A. Chowdhury
    • 3
  • Tanguy Hedrich
    • 3
  • François Dubeau
    • 1
  • Jeffery A. Hall
    • 1
  • Jean-Marc Lina
    • 4
  • Christophe Grova
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Eliane Kobayashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological InstituteMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Epilepsy CenterUniversity Medical Center FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Multimodal Functional Imaging Laboratory, Biomedical Engineering DepartmentMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Physnum-TeamCentre de Recherches MathématiquesMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Physics Department and PERFORM CentreConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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