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EEG-EP Course Syllabus - Basic Electronics Anthony Murro, M.D.

Introduction: In clinical neurophysiology, we record electrical potentials arising from synaptic activity or axonal conduction, and use this information to diagnose and monitor patients. These electrical potential arises spontaneously for electroencephalography (EEG), or in response to external stimulation for evoked potentials (EP). Basic electronics Alternating current (AC): A time- varying sinusoidal current over time. Direct current (DC): A time-constant current over time. Frequency (F): The number of waves per second for a sinusoidal signal. Impedance (Z): Consider a sinusoidal or direct current (I) that flows into an object at one point, and completely exits at a second point, and the associated electrical potential (V) between these two points. Impedance is the ratio of voltage to current: Z = V/I. Resistance: A special type of impedance that remains constant for all frequencies. Ohms Law: Impedance remains constant over time, depending only on signal frequency. This implies that electrical potential change across a circuit element is proportional to current flow. Ohms law applies to many circuit elements. Ground: Ground is the point assigned a zero potential reference level. Capacitors: This circuit elements impedance decreases with increasing signal frequency. Resistors: This circuit element has resistance only; impedance remains constant for all signal frequencies. Electrical quantities, units and abbreviations Electrical current Amperes (A) Electrical potential Volts (V) Impedance, Resistance Ohms () Frequency Hertz (Hz) Equivalent impedance (resistance) Impedances combine together, generating an equivalent impedance. Amplifier Inputs: An EEG-EP amplifier has a positive input, negative input, and single output. Gain: The amplifier multiplies the input signal potentials by a factor, the amplifier gain, to produce an output potential. Differential gain: Differential gain is the factor that multiplies the difference between positive and negative input potential to produce an output signal. Common mode gain: Common mode gain is the factor that multiplies the average of the positive and negative input potentials to produce an output signal. Differential amplifier: This amplifiers output depends primarily on the difference between the positive and negative input potentials; differential gain is much larger than common mode gain. Common mode rejection ratio (CMRR): Common mode rejection ratio is the ratio of differential gain to common mode gain. A good differential amplifier has a high CMRR.

High CMRR differential amplifier reduces noise from external sources At any point in time, potentials arising from the nervous system vary in amplitude at body surface recording sites. However, potentials arising from neighboring electrical machines or the power supply are likely to have the same amplitude. A high CMRR differential amplifier will reject the common external noise signals, while reliably amplifying signals arising from the nervous system. High electrode impedance reduces CMRR, leading commonly to 60 Hz artifact from external sources. When 60 Hz artifact occurs, the first step should be to reduce electrode impedance to restore a high CMRR and eliminate noise artifact. Accurate recording of potentials requires high amplifier input impedance Electrical currents travel first through body surface electrodes and lead wires and then into the amplifier. The electrode impedances and amplifier input impedance are in series. Typically, the amplifer input impedance is much higher than the electrode impedance. The electrical potential in the amplifier then represents nearly all of the potential arising from the body surface. For example, if amplifier impedance is 1000 times greater than electrode impedance, then the potential occurring within the amplifier represents 99.9% of the body surface potential. EEG-EP amplifiers should have high input impedance to accurately record body surface potentials. Symbols for circuit elements Resistor Impedance element Capacitor Amplifier Ground Filters Definition: A filter passes a fraction of an input signal based on input signal frequency. Filter function: A graph of the amount of signal passed at each frequency. High pass filter: Filter passes high frequency signals, but blocks low frequency signals. Low pass filter: Filter passes low frequency signals, but blocks high frequency signals. Band pass filter: Filter passes signals within a frequency band. Band stop/reject filter: Filter blocks signals within a frequency band. Notch filter: A narrow band stop filter; For example, a 60 Hz notch filter blocks 60 Hz signals Cutoff frequency: Frequency at which the filter reduces signal amplitude to 70.7% of the maximum signal amplitude occurring over the full frequency range. A band pass or band stop/reject filter will have low and high cutoff frequencies. Time constant: In response to a step input potential, a high pass filter generates an exponentially decaying output signal. During a time interval of one time constant, the output signal declines to 37% of the initial value. Relationship between time constant (Tc) and cutoff frequency (Fc): Tc=0.16/Fc. Equivalent points: When identifying the cutoff frequency, the following filter terms are equivalent: 0.707 (voltage amplitude ratio), 0.5 (power amplitude ratio), -3dB (log power ratio attenuation).

Interpretation: Over the full range of frequencies, a 1-70 Hz band pass filter generates a maximum 1 mV output at 30 Hz. At 1 Hz and 70 Hz, we expect a 0.707 mV output signal, assuming equal amplitude input signals. Analog filters: Analog filters process signals in a hardwired electrical circuit. Digital filters: Digital filters process signals in a software program. As software programs, digital filters are very flexible, allowing the user to filter signals over a wide variety of cutoff frequencies. In addition, some digital filters, unlike analog filters, do not alter the time (latency) of recorded waves. RC filter: A simple filter occurs when we apply an input potential across a capacitor and resistor combined in series. If we measure the output potential across the capacitor, we have a low pass filter. If we measure the output potential across the resistor, we have a high pass filter. The time constant (Tc) depends on the resistance (R) and capacitance (C): Tc = R*C. Analog to digital conversion Nyquist criteria: During analog to digital conversion, the EEG-EP machine samples the continuously varying (analog) recorded signal, representing the signal as a consecutive series of digital numbers. The fastest occurring wave, must be sampled at least twice, once at the peak and once at the trough. This means that the sampling rate must be at least twice as fast as the highest frequency wave (Nyquist criteria). For example, if the fastest frequency input signal is 100 Hz, the minimum sampling rate must be at least 200 Hz. Commonly, the sampling rate will significantly exceed this minimum sampling frequency. An N-bit analog digital converter: A N-bit converter can represent signal amplitude using 2^N consecutive integers. For example, a 12 bit analog to digital converter uses 4,096 consecutive integers to represent the amplifiers full input range. If the amplifier input range were 1024 uV, a 12 bit analog to digital converter could represent signals as small as 0.25 uV (1024 uV/4096). Signal averaging Reason: An evoked potential signal is commonly small compared to other background signals. These background signals (noise) commonly obscure the evoked potential signal. Signal averaging of time locked signals reduces noise and improves our ability to discern evoked potential signals. Increasing the number of signals averaged, leads to reduction in noise signal. Approximate rule: Quadrupling the number of averaged signals will reduce the noise signal by half. For example, if sampling 1000 responses led to a 1 uV of noise signal, averaging 4,000 signals would reduce the noise signal by half to about 0.5 uV. Commonly the best approach to reducing noise signals is to identify and eliminate the noise source rather than averaging very large samples. Electrode impedance reduction Method: The skin surface requiring electrode placement should be washed, and free from any applied substances. The technician will sometimes use soap or ethanol to remove any oil or any applied substances from the skin surface. In some cases, the technician will rub an abrasive solution on the skin surface or gently abrade the skin surface with the electrolyte gel needle. Acceptable electrode impedance range: 100-5,000 Ohms Causes of high electrode impedance: Oil or skin lotions, calloused skin surface, non-adherent electrodes, insufficient electrolyte gel, or air bubbles between electrode and skin surface cause high electrode impedance.

Causes for low electrode impedance: Current shunting between electrodes from sweat or misplaced electrolyte gel will reduce measured electrode impedance. Reasons for reducing electrode impedance: High electrode impedance reduces CMRR, leading to external noise signals. A fixed current stimulus generates somatosensory evoked potentials. High stimulating electrode impedance leads to high amplitude stimulus artifact obscuring the recording. Electrode application Commonly, the technician applies cup electrodes with collodion using the 10-20 system for electrode placement. The technician places electrolyte gel between the electrode and skin surface, removing all air between electrode and skin surface. Electrodes Scalp: The chemically non-reactive electrodes may be gold plated metals, silver, carbon, or conducting plastic. Intracranial electrodes: Common materials are platinum and stainless steel. MRI compatible: For MRI, non-ferromagnetic and non-paramagnetic materials are used. Intracranial, CT imaging: The mass number for stainless steel is lower compared to other inert electrode metals such as platinum leading to less scattering of x-rays. Intracranial, CT imaging: Non-ferromagnetic intracranial electrodes such as platinum are better suited for MRI imaging compared to stainless steel. DC potential shift: These are the small DC potentials occurring at the electrode electrolyte interface. Polarizable and non-polarizable electrodes Ions carry biological currents, but electrons carry current arising from the recording electrodes. At the electrode electrolyte interface, potentials may lead to two possible events. Ions at the electrolyte may undergo a redox reaction, directly receiving or transmitting electrons to the electrode. In this case, the electrode behaves like a simple resistor. In cases where a redox reaction is not possible, the potential will cause electrode electrolyte interface polarization, formation of two layers of opposing charge, similar to a capacitor. Polarizable electrodes: Polarization of the electrode electrolyte dominates. These electrodes are unsuitable for recording low frequency signals accurately. Electrode movement disrupts the charge layers, altering electrode potentials, leading to electrode artifact. Common electrodes like gold, silver, platinum, and stainless steel are polarizable. Non-polarizable electrodes: Polarization of the electrode electrolyte is significantly less. These electrodes are suitable for recording low frequency signals. These electrodes generate less movement related electrode artifact. Silver-silver chloride electrodes are non-polarizable. Calibration Machine calibration: The machine calibration shows exponentially decaying response signals in response to a calibration step signal, commonly 50 uV. Machine calibration does not test the integrity of the electrodes or electrode connections to the input box. Time constant: The time interval required for a 1/3 reduction of initial signal amplitude is an approximate estimate for the time constant.

Critical damping: The initial exponential decay shows a few superimposed oscillations, each oscillation ranging from 2-5% of peak amplitude Under damping: The initial oscillations exceed 5% of initial amplitude. Over damping: Initial oscillations are absent Sensitivity: Sensitivity is the ratio of vertical displacement to input potential. For example, a 5 uV/mm sensitivity and a 50 uV calibration signal will generate a 10 mm initial deflection. Biological calibration: Biological calibration displays the same bipolar channel (Fp1-O2) for all EEG channels. Fp1-O2 channel will display a broad range of frequencies. The display for all channels should be the same, and this tests the integrity of the entire EEG system, including electrodes and electrode lead wires. EEG recording 10-20 system: This system describes the standard placement for EEG electrodes. Minimum recording duration: 20 minutes for routine EEG studies. Upward deflection: Upward deflection indicates a negative input potential difference; Downward deflection: Downward deflection indicates a positive input potential difference. Eye opening/closing, mental tasks: The interpreter should determine the posterior rhythm frequency and observe for attenuation of alpha rhythm with eye opening during the awake state. Sleep deprivation/sleep recording: This enhances the sensitivity of EEG for epilepsy diagnosis. EEG channel: Each channel records the potential difference between two recording sites. Bipolar montages: Adjacent channels record from adjacent electrodes Referential montage: All channels share a single common (reference) electrode Reference electrode sites: Common options are ears (A1, A2), mastoid (M1, M2), average (AVG), or combined pairs of reference electrodes such as A1A2 or M1M2. Balanced non-cephalic reference: This reference site may eliminate EKG artifact. Ideal reference electrode: The ideal reference electrode should record far from any cerebral sources of EEG activity so that the potential displayed by referential EEG channel reflects activity recorded from the first electrodes recording location only. However, reference electrodes placed far from the scalp are likely to be noisy from movement and EMG artifacts. This is the reason why non-cephalic references are uncommon. Active reference: A reference electrode is close to the cerebral source of EEG activity. Interpretation with active reference electrodes is more complex.