The development of constrained source localisation algorithms for human brain imaging

  • Arjan Hillebrand

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This work sets out to evaluate the potential benefits and pit-falls in using a priori information to help solve the Magnetoencephalographic (MEG) inverse problem. In chapter one the forward problem in MEG is introduced, together with a scheme that demonstrates how a priori information can be incorporated into the inverse problem.
Chapter two contains a literature review of techniques currently used to solve the inverse problem. Emphasis is put on the kind of a priori information that is used by each of these techniques and the ease with which additional constraints can be applied. The formalism of the FOCUSS algorithm is shown to allow for the incorporation of a priori information in an insightful and straightforward manner. In chapter three it is described how anatomical constraints, in the form of a realistically shaped source space, can be extracted from a subject’s Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI). The use of such constraints relies on accurate co-registration of the MEG and MRI co-ordinate systems. Variations of the two main co-registration approaches, based on fiducial markers or on surface matching, are described and the accuracy and robustness of a surface matching algorithm is evaluated.
Figures of merit introduced in chapter four are shown to given insight into the limitations of a typical measurement set-up and potential value of a priori information.
It is shown in chapter five that constrained dipole fitting and FOCUSS outperform unconstrained dipole fitting when data with low SNR is used. However, the effect of errors in the constraints can reduce this advantage.
Finally, it is demonstrated in chapter six that the results of different localisation techniques give corroborative evidence about the location and activation sequence of the human visual cortical areas underlying the first 125ms of the visual magnetic evoked response recorded with a whole head neuromagnetometer.
Date of AwardApr 2000
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorGraham F.A. Harding (Supervisor)


  • magnetoencephalography
  • inverse problem
  • MEG-MRI co-registration
  • realistically shaped source space
  • resolution matrix

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