The most salient feature of spontaneous human brain activity as recorded with electroencephalography (EEG) are rhythmic fluctuations around 10 Hz. These alpha oscillations have been reported to propagate over the scalp with velocities in the range of 5–15 m/s. Since these velocities are in the range of action potential velocities through cortico-cortical axons, it has been hypothesized that the observed scalp waves reflect cortico-cortically mediated propagation of cortical oscillations. The reported scalp velocities however, appear to be inconsistent with those estimated from local field potential recordings in dogs, which are < 1 m/s and agree with the propagation velocity of action potentials in intra-cortical axons. In this study, we resolve these diverging findings using a combination of EEG data-analysis and biophysical modeling. In particular, we demonstrate that the observed scalp velocities can be accounted for by slow traveling oscillations, which provides support for the claim that spatial propagation of alpha oscillations is mediated by intra-cortical axons.
|Publication status||Published - 27 Aug 2014|