MEG source localization under multiple constraints: an extended Bayesian framework

Jérémie Mattout (Lead Author), Christophe Phillips, William D Penny, Michael D Rugg, Karl J Friston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


To use Electroencephalography (EEG) and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) as functional brain 3D imaging techniques, identifiable distributed source models are required. The reconstruction of EEG/MEG sources rests on inverting these models and is ill-posed because the solution does not depend continuously on the data and there is no unique solution in the absence of prior information or constraints. We have described a general framework that can account for several priors in a common inverse solution. An empirical Bayesian framework based on hierarchical linear models was proposed for the analysis of functional neuroimaging data [Friston, K., Penny, W., Phillips, C., Kiebel, S., Hinton, G., Ashburner, J., 2002. Classical and Bayesian inference in neuroimaging: theory. NeuroImage 16, 465-483] and was evaluated recently in the context of EEG [Phillips, C., Mattout, J., Rugg, M.D., Maquet, P., Friston, K., 2005. An empirical Bayesian solution to the source reconstruction problem in EEG. NeuroImage 24, 997-1011]. The approach consists of estimating the expected source distribution and its conditional variance that is constrained by an empirically determined mixture of prior variance components. Estimation uses Expectation-Maximization (EM) to give the Restricted Maximum Likelihood (ReML) estimate of the variance components (in terms of hyperparameters) and the Maximum A Posteriori (MAP) estimate of the source parameters. In this paper, we extend the framework to compare different combinations of priors, using a second level of inference based on Bayesian model selection. Using Monte-Carlo simulations, ReML is first compared to a classic Weighted Minimum Norm (WMN) solution under a single constraint. Then, the ReML estimates are evaluated using various combinations of priors. Both standard criterion and ROC-based measures were used to assess localization and detection performance. The empirical Bayes approach proved useful as: (1) ReML was significantly better than WMN for single priors; (2) valid location priors improved ReML source localization; (3) invalid location priors did not significantly impair performance. Finally, we show how model selection, using the log-evidence, can be used to select the best combination of priors. This enables a global strategy for multiple prior-based regularization of the MEG/EEG source reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-767
Number of pages15
Issue number3
Early online date20 Dec 2005
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2006


  • Bayes Theorem
  • Magnetoencephalography

Cite this