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Keywords:

  • volume conductor model;
  • brain electrical activity;
  • computational modeling;
  • brain cortical layers

SUMMARY

Computational head and brain volume conductor modeling is a practical and non-invasive method to investigate neuroelectrical activity in the brain. Anatomical structures included in a model affect the flow of volume currents and the resulting scalp surface potentials. The influence of different tissues within the head on scalp surface potentials was investigated by constructing five highly detailed, realistic head models from segmented and processed Visible Human Man digital images. The models were: (1) model with 20 different tissues, that is, skin, dense connective tissue (fat), aponeurosis (muscle), outer, middle and inner tables of the scalp, dura matter, arachnoid layer (including cerebrospinal fluid), pia matter, six cortical layers, eye tissue, muscle around the eye, optic nerve, temporal muscle, white matter and internal air, (2) model with three main inhomogeneities, that is, scalp, skull, brain, (3) model with homogeneous scalp and remaining inhomogeneities, (4) model with homogeneous skull and remaining inhomogeneities, and (5) model with homogeneous brain matter and remaining inhomogeneities. Scalp potentials because of three different dipolar sources in the parietal-occipital lobe were computed for all five models. Results of a forward solution revealed that tissues included in the model and the dipole source location directly affect the simulated scalp surface potentials. The major finding indicates that significant change in the scalp surface potentials is observed when the brain's distinctions are removed. The other modifications, for example, layers of the scalp and skull are important too, but they have less effect on the overall results. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.