Transcranial evoked potentials can be reliably recorded with active electrodes

Marco Mancuso, Valerio Sveva, Alessandro Cruciani, Katlyn Brown, Jaime Ibáñez, Vishal Rawji, Elias Casula, Isabella Premoli, Sasha D’Ambrosio, John Rothwell, Lorenzo Rocchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electroencephalographic (EEG) signals evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are usually recorded with passive electrodes (PE). Active electrode (AE) systems have recently become widely available; compared to PE, they allow for easier electrode preparation and a higher-quality signal, due to the preamplification at the electrode stage, which reduces electrical line noise. The performance between the AE and PE can differ, especially with fast EEG voltage changes, which can easily occur with TMS-EEG; however, a systematic comparison in the TMS-EEG setting has not been made. Therefore, we recorded TMS-evoked EEG potentials (TEPs) in a group of healthy subjects in two sessions, one using PE and the other using AE. We stimulated the left primary motor cortex and right medial prefrontal cortex and used two different approaches to remove early TMS artefacts, Independent Component Analysis and Signal Space Projection—Source Informed Recovery. We assessed statistical differences in amplitude and topography of TEPs, and their similarity, by means of the concordance correlation coefficient (CCC). We also tested the capability of each system to approximate the final TEP waveform with a reduced number of trials. The results showed that TEPs recorded with AE and PE do not differ in amplitude and topography, and only few electrodes showed a lower-than-expected CCC between the two methods of amplification. We conclude that AE are a viable solution for TMS-EEG recording.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Active electrodes
  • EEG artefacts
  • Electroencephalography
  • Independent component analysis
  • Motor evoked potentials
  • Neurophysiology
  • Transcranial evoked potentials
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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