Studying task-related activity of individual neurons in the human brain

Shaun R. Patel, Sameer A. Sheth, Clarissa Martinez-Rubio, Matthew K. Mian, Wael F. Asaad, Jason L. Gerrard, Churl Su Kwon, Darin D. Dougherty, Alice W. Flaherty, Benjamin D. Greenberg, John T. Gale, Ziv M. Williams, Emad N. Eskandar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Single-neuronal studies remain the gold standard for studying brain function. Here we describe a protocol for studying task-related single-neuronal activity in human subjects during neurosurgical procedures involving microelectrode recordings. This protocol has two phases: a preoperative phase and an intraoperative phase. During the preoperative phase, we discuss informed consent, equipment setup and behavioral testing. During the intraoperative phase, we discuss the procedure for microelectrode recordings. Because patients are often awake during these procedures, this protocol can be performed in conjunction with behavioral tasks for studying a variety of cognitive functions. We describe the protocol in detail and provide two examples of expected results. In addition, we discuss the potential difficulties and pitfalls related to intraoperative studies. This protocol takes ∼1.5 h to complete.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)949-957
Number of pages9
JournalNature Protocols
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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