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Fusing EEG and fMRI based on a bottom-up model: inferring activation and effective connectivity in neural masses

  • J Riera
  • E Aubert
  • K Iwata
  • R Kawashima
  • X Wan
  • T Ozaki
The Royal Society
Publication Date
May 29, 2005
  • Biology
  • Physics


The elucidation of the complex machinery used by the human brain to segregate and integrate information while performing high cognitive functions is a subject of imminent future consequences. The most significant contributions to date in this field, known as cognitive neuroscience, have been achieved by using innovative neuroimaging techniques, such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which measure variations in both the time and the space of some interpretable physical magnitudes. Extraordinary maps of cerebral activation involving function-restricted brain areas, as well as graphs of the functional connectivity between them, have been obtained from EEG and fMRI data by solving some spatio-temporal inverse problems, which constitutes a top-down approach. However, in many cases, a natural bridge between these maps/graphs and the causal physiological processes is lacking, leading to some misunderstandings in their interpretation. Recent advances in the comprehension of the underlying physiological mechanisms associated with different cerebral scales have provided researchers with an excellent scenario to develop sophisticated biophysical models that permit an integration of these neuroimage modalities, which must share a common aetiology. This paper proposes a bottom-up approach, involving physiological parameters in a specific mesoscopic dynamic equations system. Further observation equations encapsulating the relationship between the mesostates and the EEG/fMRI data are obtained on the basis of the physical foundations of these techniques. A methodology for the estimation of parameters from fused EEG/fMRI data is also presented. In this context, the concepts of activation and effective connectivity are carefully revised. This new approach permits us to examine and discuss some future prospects for the integration of multimodal neuroimages.

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