Spatio-temporal reconstruction of brain dynamics from EEG with a Markov prior

Sofie Therese Hansen, Lars Kai Hansen

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Electroencephalography (EEG) can capture brain dynamics in high temporal resolution. By projecting the scalp EEG signal back to its origin in the brain also high spatial resolution can be achieved. Source localized EEG therefore has potential to be a very powerful tool for understanding the functional dynamics of the brain. Solving the inverse problem of EEG is however highly ill-posed as there are many more potential locations of the EEG generators than EEG measurement points. Several well-known properties of brain dynamics can be exploited to alleviate this problem. More short ranging connections exist in the brain than long ranging, arguing for spatially focal sources. Additionally, recent work (Delorme et al., 2012) argues that EEG can be decomposed into components having sparse source distributions. On the temporal side both short and long term stationarity of brain activation are seen. We summarize these insights in an inverse solver, the so-called "Variational Garrote" (Kappen and Gómez, 2013). Using a Markov prior we can incorporate flexible degrees of temporal stationarity. Through spatial basis functions spatially smooth distributions are obtained. Sparsity of these are inherent to the Variational Garrote solver. We name our method the MarkoVG and demonstrate its ability to adapt to the temporal smoothness and spatial sparsity in simulated EEG data. Finally a benchmark EEG dataset is used to demonstrate MarkoVG's ability to recover non-stationary brain dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274–283
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Bayesian inference
  • EEG
  • Inverse problem
  • Source reconstruction
  • Temporal dynamics
  • The Variational Garrote


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