Pearls and pitfalls in brain functional analysis by event-related potentials: a narrative review by the Italian Psychophysiology and Cognitive Neuroscience Society on methodological limits and clinical reliability—part I

M. de Tommaso, V. Betti, T. Bocci, N. Bolognini, F. Di Russo, F. Fattapposta, R. Ferri, S. Invitto, G. Koch, C. Miniussi, F. Piccione, A. Ragazzoni, F. Sartucci, S. Rossi, G. Arcara, M. Berchicci, V. Bianco, M. Delussi, E. Gentile, F. GiovannelliD. Mannarelli, M. Marino, E. Mussini, C. Pauletti, M.C. Pellicciari, A. Pisoni, A. Raggi, M. Valeriani

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Event-related potentials (ERPs) are obtained from the electroencephalogram (EEG) or the magnetoencephalogram (MEG, event-related fields (ERF)), extracting the activity that is time-locked to an event. Despite the potential utility of ERP/ERF in cognitive domain, the clinical standardization of their use is presently undefined for most of procedures. The aim of the present review is to establish limits and reliability of ERP medical application, summarize main methodological issues, and present evidence of clinical application and future improvement. The present section of the review focuses on well-standardized ERP methods, including P300, Contingent Negative Variation (CNV), Mismatch Negativity (MMN), and N400, with a chapter dedicated to laser-evoked potentials (LEPs). One section is dedicated to proactive preparatory brain activity as the Bereitschaftspotential and the prefrontal negativity (BP and pN). The P300 and the MMN potentials have a limited but recognized role in the diagnosis of cognitive impairment and consciousness disorders. LEPs have a well-documented usefulness in the diagnosis of neuropathic pain, with low application in clinical assessment of psychophysiological basis of pain. The other ERP components mentioned here, though largely applied in normal and pathological cases and well standardized, are still confined to the research field. CNV, BP, and pN deserve to be largely tested in movement disorders, just to explain possible functional changes in motor preparation circuits subtending different clinical pictures and responses to treatments.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)2711-2735
Number of pages25
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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