MEG Characterization of Spontaneous Alpha Rhythm in the Human Brain

Research paper by Carlo Ciulla, Tsunehiro Takeda, Hiroshi Endo

Indexed on: 01 Mar '99Published on: 01 Mar '99Published in: Brain Topography


The present piece of research studied the spontaneous alpha rhythm of the human brain by combining the use of a whole-cortex neuromagnetometer and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Single trials of spontaneous brain activity were recorded from ten human subjects asked to rest, with their eyes either closed or open, in relaxed wakefulness. MEG measurements were conducted over a period of one and a half years. The replicability of the results was confirmed for eight subjects out of ten. For three subjects, the alpha rhythm did not show any reductions due to the opening of the eyes. Both field map pattern and location of the estimated source were persistently stationary during each of the bursts of oscillations of the alpha rhythm. Dipoles were concentrated in clusters, indicating the existence of several spatially distributed sources. The calcarine fissure, the parieto-occipital sulcus and the surrounding occipital and parieto-occipital areas were identified as cortical sites of the brain where the alpha rhythm may originate. For four subjects, the majority of the sources were located near or in the calcarine fissure, while for five subjects, they were located near or in the parieto-occipital sulcus and for the remaining subject they were equally divided between the two generation sites.