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Comparison of EEG and fNIRS for measurement of cortical activity during motor tasks

Friday, September 18, 2015 — Poster Session V

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
FAES Terrace


  • AK Sharma
  • TC Bulea
  • M Karker
  • T Sukal-Moulton
  • AC de Campos
  • DL Damiano


The overarching goal of our research is to investigate brain activity underlying motor coordination in children with cerebral palsy (CP), so we can design more effective rehabilitation strategies. Our laboratory currently utilizes two different portable technologies to evaluate brain activation during functional motor tasks: electroencephalography (EEG) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). These are fundamentally different techniques with unique strengths and weaknesses. EEG, which measures electric potential from the surface of the scalp, has higher temporal resolution than fNIRS, but is limited by a low signal to noise ratio and poor spatial resolution. Like fMRI, fNIRS utilizes a blood-oxygen level dependent response, but in a portable setup enabling its use in a wide variety of environments. The objective of this study was to compare data on identical motor tasks collected with EEG and fNIRS in separate sessions which has not been reported previously in the literature. Ten healthy controls were enrolled. EEG and fNIRS data were collected during ankle dorsiflexion tasks on separate days. Neuroimaging data were synchronized with the kinematics and EMG to assess the cortical activity underpinning movement execution. Anatomical landmarks and sensor locations were recorded during each experiment to warp template head models based on standard brain atlases to match the subject-specific anatomy. Our results show consistent activation patterns from both the fNIRS and EEG data across subjects. We discuss several examples in which use of these two complementary techniques can enhance interpretation compared to their use in isolation.

Category: Neuroscience