Recommendations for the use of multimodal neuroimaging to assess brain structure and function

Location of EEG electrodes placed on the scalp

Scalp electrode array depicting individual channel responses to transcranial magnetic stimulation

A wide array of neuroimaging technologies are now available that offer unprecedented opportunities to study the brain in health and disease. Each technology has associated strengths and weaknesses that need to be considered to maximize their utility, especially when used in combination. Recently, I co-authored a paper that explored advances in the potential applications of electroencephalography (EEG) to characterize brain activity after stroke (Borich, Brown, Lakhani, Boyd, 2015, Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy). We concluded that EEG, when combined with transcranial magnetic stimulation in real-time, has the potential to reveal causal mechanisms of altered cortical excitability and connectivity in neurologic disorders including stroke. It may also be used longitudinally to evaluate mechanisms of recovery and treatment efficacy of common therapies or novel rehabilitation approaches.

Impact: Increased understanding of the neural mechanisms supporting recovery after neurologic injury or in the context of disease will contribute to: the development of sensitive measures to monitor recovery, the design of more efficacious therapeutic interventions and an improved ability to personalize rehabilitation medicine.