Surgical and Electrophysiological Techniques for Single-Neuron Recordings in Human Epilepsy Patients

Part of the Neuromethods book series (NM, volume 134)


Extracellular recordings of single-neuron activity in awake behaving animals are one of the principal techniques used to decipher the neuronal basis of behavior. While only routinely possible in animals, rare clinical procedures make it possible to perform such recordings in awake human beings. Such human single-neuron recordings have started to reveal insights into the neural mechanisms of learning, memory, cognition, attention, and decision-making in humans. Here, we describe in detail the methods we developed to perform such recordings in patients undergoing invasive monitoring for localization of epileptic seizures. We describe three aspects: the neurosurgical procedure to implant depth electrodes with embedded microwires, electrophysiological methods to perform experiments in the clinical settings, and data processing steps to isolate single neurons. Together, this chapter provides a comprehensive overview of the methods needed to perform single-neuron recordings in humans during psychophysical tasks.


Single-neuron recordings Human intracranial Functional neurosurgery Stereotactic Electrophysiology Spike sorting 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computation and Neural Systems ProgramCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryCedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyCedars-Sinai Medical CenterLos AngelesUSA

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