Neuromagnetic field strength outside the human head due to impedance changes from neuronal depolarization

Ahadzi, Gershon M., Liston, Adam D., Bayford, Richard ORCID logoORCID: and Holder, David S. (2004) Neuromagnetic field strength outside the human head due to impedance changes from neuronal depolarization. Physiological Measurement, 25 (1) . pp. 365-378. ISSN 0967-3334 [Article] (doi:10.1088/0967-3334/25/1/040)


The holy grail of neuroimaging would be to have an imaging system, which could image neuronal electrical activity over milliseconds. One way to do this would be by imaging the impedance changes associated with ion channels opening in neuronal membranes in the brain during activity. In principle, we could measure this change by using electrical impedance tomography (EIT) but it is close to its threshold of detectability. With the inherent limitation in the use of electrodes, we propose a new scheme based on recording the magnetic field resulting from an injected current with superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDs), used in magnetoencephalography (MEG). We have performed a feasibility study using computer simulation. The head was modelled as concentric spheres to mimic the scalp, skull, cerebrospinal fluid and brain using the finite element method. The magnetic field 1 cm away from the scalp was estimated. An impedance change of 1% in a 2 cm radius volume in the brain was modelled as the region of depolarization. A constant current of 100 µA was injected into the head from diametrically opposite electrodes. The model predicts that the standing magnetic field is about 10 pT and changed by about 3 fT (0.03%) on depolarization. The spectral noise density in a typical MEG system in the frequency band 1–100 Hz is about 7 fT, so this places the change at the limit of detectability. This is similar to electrical recording, as in conventional EIT systems, but there may be advantages to MEG in that the magnetic field directly traverses the skull and instrumentation errors from the electrode–skin interface will be obviated.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences > Biophysics and Bioengineering group
ISI Impact: 4
Item ID: 2413
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 26 May 2009 08:57
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:14

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