EEG data recorded during simultaneous fMRI are contaminated by large voltages generated by time-varying magnetic field gradients. Correction of the resulting gradient artifact (GA) generally involves low-pass filtering to attenuate the high-frequency voltage fluctuations of the GA, followed by subtraction of a GA template produced by averaging over repeats of the artifact waveforms. This average artifact subtraction (AAS) process relies on the EEG amplifier having a large enough dynamic range to characterize the artifact voltages and on invariance of the artifact waveform over repeated image acquisitions. Saturation of the amplifiers and changes in subject position can leave unwanted residual GA after AAS. Previous modeling work suggested that modifying the lead layout and the exit position of the cable bundle on the EEG cap could reduce the GA amplitude. Here, we used simulations and experiments to evaluate the effect of modifying the lead paths on the magnitude of the GA and on the residual artifact after AAS. The modeling work showed that for wire paths following great circles, the smallest overall GA occurs when the leads converge at electrode Cz. The performance of this new cap design was compared with a standard cap in experiments on a spherical agar phantom and human subjects. Using gradient pulses applied separately along the three Cartesian axes, we found that the GA due to the foot-head gradient was most significantly reduced relative to a standard cap for the phantom, whereas the anterior-posterior GA was most attenuated for human subjects. In addition, there was an overall 37% reduction in the RMS GA amplitude produced by a standard EPI sequence when comparing the two caps on the phantom. In contrast, the subjects showed an 11% increase in the average RMS of the GA. This work shows that the optimal design reduces the GA on a spherical phantom however; these gains are not translated to human subjects, probably due to the differences in geometry. © 2014 Mullinger, Chowdhury and Bowtell.
Mullinger, K. J., Chowdhury, M. E. H., & Bowtell, R. (2014). Investigating the effect of modifying the EEG cap lead configuration on the gradient artifact in simultaneous EEG-fMRI. Frontiers in Neuroscience, (8 JUL). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2014.00226