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Biophysical Aspects of EEG and MEG Generation 

Biophysical Aspects of EEG and MEG Generation
Chapter:
Biophysical Aspects of EEG and MEG Generation
Author(s):

Wytse J. Wadman

, and Fernando H. Lopes da Silva

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190228484.003.0004
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date: 14 October 2019

This chapter reviews the essential physical principles involved in the generation of electroencephalographic (EEG) and magnetoencephalographic (MEG) signals. The general laws governing the electrophysiology of neuronal activity are analyzed within the formalism of the Maxwell equations that constitute the basis for understanding electromagnetic fields in general. Three main topics are discussed. The first is the forward problem: How can one calculate the electrical field that results from a known configuration of neuronal sources? The second is the inverse problem: Given an electrical field as a function of space and time mostly recorded at the scalp (EEG/MEG), how can one reconstruct the underlying generators at the brain level? The third is the reverse problem: How can brain activity be modulated by external electromagnetic fields with diagnostic and/or therapeutic objectives? The chapter emphasizes the importance of understanding the common biophysical framework concerning these three main topics of brain electrical and magnetic activities.

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