Neuro-electromagnetic imaging of the human visual cortex
Methods of solving the neuro-electromagnetic inverse problem are examined and developed, with specific reference to the human visual cortex. The anatomy, physiology and function of the human visual system are first reviewed. Mechanisms by which the visual cortex gives rise to external electric and magnetic fields are then discussed, and the forward problem is described mathematically for the case of an isotropic, piecewise homogeneous volume conductor, and then for an anisotropic, cocentric, spherical volume conductor. Methods of solving the inverse problem are reviewed, before a new technique is presented. This technique combines prior anatomical information gained from stereotaxic studies, with a probabilistic distributed-source algorithm to yield accurate, realistic inverse solutions. The solution accuracy is enhanced by using both visual evoked electric and magnetic responses simultaneously. The numerical algorithm is then modified to perform equivalent current dipole fitting and minimum norm estimation, and these three techniques are implemented on a transputer array for fast computation. Due to the linear nature of the techniques, they can be executed on up to 22 transputers with close to linear speedup. The latter part of the thesis describes the application of the inverse methods to the analysis of visual evoked electric and magnetic responses. The CIIm peak of the pattern onset evoked magnetic response is deduced to be a product of current flowing away from the surface areas 17, 18 and 19, while the pattern reversal P100m response originates in the same areas, but from oppositely directed current. Cortical retinotopy is examined using sectorial stimuli.