Simultaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging and electrophysiological recording

Frank R. Huang‐Hellinger, Hans C. Breiter, Glen McCormack, Mark S. Cohen, Ken K. Kwong, Jeffrey P. Sutton, Robert L. Savoy, Robert M. Weisskoff, Timothly L. Davis, John R. Baker, John W. Belliveau, Bruce R. Rosen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to develop a method for obtaining simultaneous electrophysiological and functional magnetic resonance imaging data. Using phantom experiments and tests on several of the investigators, a method for obtaining simultaneous electrophysiological and fMRI data was developed and then tested in three volunteers including two task activation experiments. It was then applied in a sleep experiment (n = 12). Current limiting resistance and low‐pass filtering were added to the electrophysiological circuit. Potential high frequency current loops were avoided in the electrical layout near the subject. MRI was performed at 1.5 T using conventional and echo planar imaging sequences. There was no evidence of subject injury. Expected correlations were observed between the electrophysiological and fMRI data in the task activation experiments. The fMRI data were not significantly degraded by the electrophysiological apparatus. Alpha waves were detected from within the magnet in seven of the 15 experimental sessions. There was degradation of the electrophysiological data due to ballistocardiographic artifacts (pulsatile whole body motion time‐locked to cardiac activity) which varied between subjects from being minimal to becoming large enough to make detection of alpha waves difficult. We concluded that simultaneous fMRI and electrophysiological recording is possible with minor modifications of standard electrophysiological equipment. Our initial results suggest this can be done safely and without compromise of the fMRI data. The usefulness of this technique for studies of such things as sleep and epilepsy is promising. Applications requiring higher precision electrophysiological data, such as evoked response measurements, may require modifications based on ballistocardiographic effects. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995


  • Echo planar MRI
  • brain
  • function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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