A system has been developed to record and analyze the cortical electrical activity from 16 different sites in freely moving rats. The hardware includes a 16-channel amplifier system whose high input impedance, low noise, small size, light weight and shielded multistrand connecting cable allow high quality multichannel recording of field potentials. The software developed for this system consists of data acquisition, data analysis and topographic mapping of cortical-evoked potentials as well as electroencephalograms. Cortical field potentials evoked by CO2-laser stimulation were compared between wakeful and pentobarbital-treated conditions. To investigate the background interference produced by sleep spindle, three kinds of reference-free methods (the Wilson, local average and weighted average methods) were utilized to compare the coherence between field potentials obtained from two cerebral hemispheres using monopolar vs. reference-free recordings.
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