Magnetoencephalography can reveal deep brain network activities linked to memory processes


  • López-Madrona Víctor
  • Medina Villalon Samuel
  • Badier Jean‐michel
  • Trébuchon Agnès
  • Jayabal Velmurugan
  • Bartolomei Fabrice
  • Carron Romain
  • Barborica Andrei
  • Vulliémoz Serge
  • Alario F.‐Xavier
  • Bénar Christian


  • MEG
  • SEEG
  • Hippocampus
  • Independent component analysis
  • Memory
  • Simultaneous recordings
  • Source localization

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Recording from deep neural structures such as hippocampus noninvasively and yet with high temporal resolution remains a major challenge for human neuroscience. Although it has been proposed that deep neuronal activity might be recordable during cognitive tasks using magnetoencephalography (MEG), this remains to be demonstrated as the contribution of deep structures to MEG recordings may be too small to be detected or might be eclipsed by the activity of large-scale neocortical networks. In the present study, we disentangled mesial activity and large-scale networks from the MEG signals thanks to blind source separation (BSS). We then validated the MEG BSS components using intracerebral EEG signals recorded simultaneously in patients during their presurgical evaluation of epilepsy. In the MEG signals obtained during a memory task involving the recognition of old and new images, we identified with BSS a putative mesial component, which was present in all patients and all control subjects. The time course of the component selectively correlated with stereo-electroencephalography signals recorded from hippocampus and rhinal cortex, thus confirming its mesial origin. This finding complements previous studies with epileptic activity and opens new possibilities for using MEG to study deep brain structures in cognition and in brain disorders.

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