Utility of independent component analysis for interpretation of intracranial EEG

Diane Whitmer, Gregory Worrell, Matt Stead, Keun Lee, Scott Makeig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Electrode arrays are sometimes implanted in the brains of patients with intractable epilepsy to better localize seizure foci before epilepsy surgery. Analysis of intracranial EEG (iEEG) recordings is typically performed in the electrode channel domain without explicit separation of the sources that generate the signals. However, intracranial EEG signals, like scalp EEG signals, could be linear mixtures of local activity and volume-conducted activity arising in multiple source areas. Independent component analysis (ICA) has recently been applied to scalp EEG data,and shown to separate the signal mixtures into independently generated brain and non-brain source signals. Here, we applied ICA to unmix source signals from intracranial EEG recordings from four epilepsy patients during a visually cued finger movement task in the presence of background pathological brain activity. This ICA decomposition demonstrated that the iEEG recordings were not maximally independent, but rather are linear mixtures of activity from multiple sources. Many of the independent component (IC) projections to the iEEG recording grid were consistent with sources from single brain regions, including components exhibiting classic movement-related dynamics. Notably, the largest IC projection to each channel accounted for no more than 20-80% of the channel signal variance, implying that in general intracranial recordings cannot be accurately interpreted as recordings of independent brain sources. These results suggest that ICA can be used to identify and monitor major field sources of local and distributed functional networks generating iEEG data. ICA decomposition methods are useful for improving the fidelity of source signals of interest, likely including distinguishing the sources of pathological brain activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 2010


  • ECoG
  • EEG
  • Electrocorticography
  • Epilepsy
  • ICA
  • Intracranial
  • Mu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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