IFCN-endorsed practical guidelines for clinical magnetoencephalography (MEG)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review


  • Riitta Hari
  • Sylvain Baillet
  • Gareth Barnes
  • Richard Burgess
  • Nina Forss
  • Joachim Gross
  • Matti Hämäläinen
  • Ole Jensen
  • Ryusuke Kakigi
  • Mauguiére Francois
  • Nobukatzu Nakasato
  • Aina Puce
  • Gian Luca Romani
  • Alfons Schnitzler
  • Samu Taulu

Research units

  • Department of Neurology, Helsinki University Hospital, and Clinical Neurosciences, Neurology, University of Helsinki
  • Indiana University (IU)
  • Gabriele d’Annunzio University
  • University of Washington
  • McGill University
  • University College of London
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Muenster
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Karolinska Institutet
  • University of Birmingham
  • National Institute of Physiological Sciences
  • Neurological Hospital & University of Lyon
  • Tohoku University
  • Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf


Magnetoencephalography (MEG) records weak magnetic fields outside the human head and thereby provides millisecond-accurate information about neuronal currents supporting human brain function. MEG and electroencephalography (EEG) are closely related complementary methods and should be interpreted together whenever possible. This manuscript covers the basic physical and physiological principles of MEG and discusses the main aspects of state-of-the-art MEG data analysis. We provide guidelines for best practices of patient preparation, stimulus presentation, MEG data collection and analysis, as well as for MEG interpretation in routine clinical examinations. In 2017, about 200 whole-scalp MEG devices were in operation worldwide, many of them located in clinical environments. Yet, the established clinical indications for MEG examinations remain few, mainly restricted to the diagnostics of epilepsy and to preoperative functional evaluation of neurosurgical patients. We are confident that the extensive ongoing basic MEG research indicates potential for the evaluation of neurological and psychiatric syndromes, developmental disorders, and the integrity of cortical brain networks after stroke. Basic and clinical research is, thus, paving way for new clinical applications to be identified by an increasing number of practitioners of MEG.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1720-1747
Number of pages28
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number8
Early online date30 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal

    Research areas

  • MEG, clinical, Alzheimer's disease and dementia, Analysis and interpretation, Artifacts, Brain maturation and development, Clinical neurophysiology, Dyslexia, Electroencephalography, Epilepsy, Evoked and event-related responses, Guidelines, Hepatic encephalopathy, Magnetoencephalography, Neural oscillations, Neuropsychiatric disorders, Pain, Parkinson's disease, Preoperative evaluation, Source modeling, Spontaneous brain activity, Stroke, Transient and steady-state responses, Traumatic brain injury

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