How the NPX data format handles EEG data acquired simultaneously with fMRI

Luigi Bianchi, Lucia Rita Quitadamo, Maria Grazia Marciani, Bruno Maraviglia, Manuel Abbafati, Girolamo Garreffa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a growing interest in combining EEG and (f)MRI data as they provide complementary information: EEG is characterized by a high temporal resolution but poor spatial one, while fMRI is characterized by a high spatial resolution but low temporal one. However, while a standard file format for storing EEG data is available since over a decade, it does not fulfill the needs of modern protocols and devices such as those involved in simultaneous EEG and fMRI recordings. The main reasons are the limited bit resolution, some difficulties encountered in handling and storing acquisition events or trace markers for off-line analyses and the impossibility to add some protocol-specific information that is not considered in the actual data formats. This, among others, hinders the release of free analysis software and makes it difficult to share data across different laboratories as every research unit develops its own tools according to its needs, stores data in proprietary formats and a lot of time is spent building software applications for converting data from one format to another. The NPX (NeuroPhysiological signals in eXtensible Markup Language) data format was defined to overcome these and other limitations, and here its main characteristics are reported as well as how some typical problems occurring in simultaneous EEG-fMRI recordings are also treated. Many tools based on the NPX technology can be freely downloaded, including a tool for removing artifacts occurring during simultaneous EEG-fMRI recordings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1014
Number of pages4
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • Data format
  • File format
  • XML

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Structural Biology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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