Length matters: Improved high field EEG-fMRI recordings using shorter EEG cables

Sara Assecondi, Christina Lavallee, Paolo Ferrari, Jorge Jovicich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: The use of concurrent EEG-fMRI recordings has increased in recent years, allowing new avenues of medical and cognitive neuroscience research; however, currently used setups present problems with data quality and reproducibility.

NEW METHOD: We propose a compact experimental setup for concurrent EEG-fMRI at 4T and compare it to a more standard reference setup. The compact setup uses short EEG cables connecting to the amplifiers, which are placed right at the back of the head RF coil on a form-fitting extension force-locked to the patient MR bed. We compare the two setups in terms of sensitivity to MR-room environmental noise, interferences between measuring devices (EEG or fMRI), and sensitivity to functional responses in a visual stimulation paradigm.

RESULTS: The compact setup reduces the system sensitivity to both external noise and MR-induced artefacts by at least 60%, with negligible EEG noise induced from the mechanical vibrations of the cryogenic cooling compression pump.

COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS: The compact setup improved EEG data quality and the overall performance of MR-artifact correction techniques. Both setups were similar in terms of the fMRI data, with higher reproducibility for cable placement within the scanner in the compact setup.

CONCLUSIONS: This improved compact setup may be relevant to MR laboratories interested in reducing the sensitivity of their EEG-fMRI experimental setup to external noise sources, setting up an EEG-fMRI workplace for the first time, or for creating a more reproducible configuration of equipment and cables. Implications for safety and ergonomics are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-87
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Early online date21 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2016


  • Concurrent EEG–FMRI;
  • EEG cable length
  • Multimodal neuroimaging
  • Data quality
  • Cryogenic pump noise


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