Characterizing somatosensory evoked potential sources with dipole models: Advantages and limitations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several methods have been developed to investigate the cerebral generators of scalp somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs), because simple visual inspection of the electroencephalographic signal does not allow for immediate identification of the active brain regions. When the neurons fired by the afferent inputs are closely grouped, as usually occurs in SEP generation, they can be represented as a dipole, that is, as a linear source with two opposite poles. Several techniques for dipolar source modeling, which use different algorithms, have been employed to build source models of early, middle-latency, and late cognitive SEPs. Modifications of SEP dipolar activities after experimental maneuvers or in pathological conditions have also been observed. Although the effectiveness of dipolar source analysis should not be overestimated due to the intrinsic limitations of the approach, dipole modeling provides a means to assess SEPs in terms of cerebral sources and voltage fields that they produce over the head.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-339
Number of pages15
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Dipolar source modeling
  • Lower limb
  • Somatosensory evoked potentials
  • Upper limb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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