The visually evoked magnetic response (VEMR) to a pattern onset/offset stimulus
This study characterizes the visually evoked magnetic response (VEMR) to pattern onset/offset stimuli, using a single channel BTi magnetometer. The influence of stimulus parameters and recording protocols on the VEMR is studied with inferences drawn about the nature of cortical processing, its origins and optimal recording strategies. Fundamental characteristics are examined, such as the behaviour of successive averaged and unaveraged responses; the effects of environmental shielding; averaging; inter- and intrasubject variability and equipment specificity. The effects of varying check size, field size, contrast and refractive error on latency, amplitude and topographic distribution are also presented. Latency and amplitude trends are consistent with previous VEP findings and known anatomical properties of the visual system. Topographic results are consistent with the activity of sources organised according to the cruciform model of striate cortex. A striate origin for the VEMR is also suggested by the results to quarter, octant and annulus field stimuli. Similarities in the behaviour and origins of the sources contributing to the CIIm and CIIIm onset peaks are presented for a number of stimulus conditions. This would be consistent with differing processing event in the same, or similar neuronal populations. Focal field stimuli produce less predictable responses than full or half fields, attributable to a reduced signal to noise ratio and an increased sensitivity to variations in cortical morphology. Problems with waveform peak identification are encountered for full field stimuli that can only be resolved by the careful choice of stimulus parameters, comparisons with half field responses or with reference to the topographic distribution of each waveform peak.