Magnetic field tomography of coherent thalamocortical 40-Hz oscillations in humans. Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper introduces the use of magnetic field tomography (MFT), a noninvasive technique based on distributed source analysis of magnetoencephalography data, which makes possible the three-dimensional reconstruction of dynamic brain activity in humans. MFT has a temporal resolution better than 1 msec and a spatial accuracy of 2-5 mm at the cortical level, which deteriorates to 1-3 cm at depths of 6 cm or more. MFT is used here to visualize the origin of a spatiotemporally organized pattern of coherent 40-Hz electrical activity. This coherence, initially observed during auditory input, was proposed to be generated by recurrent corticothalamic oscillation. In support of this hypothesis, we illustrate well-defined 40-Hz coherence between cortical-subcortical sites with a time shift that is consistent with thalamocortical conduction times. Studies on Alzheimer patients indicate that, while a similar activity pattern is present, the cortical component is reduced in these subjects.

publication date

  • December 15, 1991