Novel data-driven analysis methods for real-time fMRI and simultaneous EEG-fMRI neuroimaging

Soldati, Nicola (2012) Novel data-driven analysis methods for real-time fMRI and simultaneous EEG-fMRI neuroimaging. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


Real-time neuroscience can be described as the use of neuroimaging techniques to extract and evaluate brain activations during their ongoing development. The possibility to track these activations opens the doors to new research modalities as well as practical applications in both clinical and everyday life. Moreover, the combination of different neuroimaging techniques, i.e. multimodality, may reduce several limitations present in each single technique. Due to the intrinsic difficulties of real-time experiments, in order to fully exploit their potentialities, advanced signal processing algorithms are needed. In particular, since brain activations are free to evolve in an unpredictable way, data-driven algorithms have the potentials of being more suitable than model-driven ones. In fact, for example, in neurofeedback experiments brain activation tends to change its properties due to training or task eects thus evidencing the need for adaptive algorithms. Blind Source Separation (BSS) methods, and in particular Independent Component Analysis (ICA) algorithms, are naturally suitable to such kind of conditions. Nonetheless, their applicability in this framework needs further investigations. The goals of the present thesis are: i) to develop a working real-time set up for performing experiments; ii) to investigate different state of the art ICA algorithms with the aim of identifying the most suitable (along with their optimal parameters), to be adopted in a real-time MRI environment; iii) to investigate novel ICA-based methods for performing real-time MRI neuroimaging; iv) to investigate novel methods to perform data fusion between EEG and fMRI data acquired simultaneously. The core of this thesis is organized around four "experiments", each one addressing one of these specic aims. The main results can be summarized as follows. Experiment 1: a data analysis software has been implemented along with the hardware acquisition set-up for performing real-time fMRI. The set-up has been developed with the aim of having a framework into which it would be possible to test and run the novel methods proposed to perform real-time fMRI. Experiment 2: to select the more suitable ICA algorithm to be implemented in the system, we investigated theoretically and compared empirically the performance of 14 different ICA algorithms systematically sampling different growing window lengths, model order as well as a priori conditions (none, spatial or temporal). Performance is evaluated by computing the spatial and temporal correlation to a target component of brain activation as well as computation time. Four algorithms are identied as best performing without prior information (constrained ICA, fastICA, jade-opac and evd), with their corresponding parameter choices. Both spatial and temporal priors are found to almost double the similarity to the target at not computation costs for the constrained ICA method. Experiment 3: the results and the suggested parameters choices from experiment 2 were implemented to monitor ongoing activity in a sliding-window approach to investigate different ways in which ICA-derived a priori information could be used to monitor a target independent component: i) back-projection of constant spatial information derived from a functional localizer, ii) dynamic use of temporal , iii) spatial, or both iv) spatial-temporal ICA constrained data. The methods were evaluated based on spatial and/or temporal correlation with the target IC component monitored, computation time and intrinsic stochastic variability of the algorithms. The results show that the back-projection method offers the highest performance both in terms of time course reconstruction and speed. This method is very fast and effective as far as the monitored IC has a strong and well defined behavior, since it relies on an accurate description of the spatial behavior. The dynamic methods oer comparable performances at cost of higher computational time. In particular the spatio-temporal method performs comparably in terms of computational time to back-projection, offering more variable performances in terms of reconstruction of spatial maps and time courses. Experiment 4: finally, Higher Order Partial Least Square based method combined with ICA is proposed and investigated to integrate EEG-fMRI data acquired simultaneously. This method showed to be promising, although more experiments are needed.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Cognitive and Brain Sciences
PhD Cycle:XXIV
Subjects:Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > INF/01 INFORMATICA
Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione > ING-INF/03 TELECOMUNICAZIONI
Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche > SECS-S/02 STATISTICA PER LA RICERCA SPERIMENTALE E TECNOLOGICA
Area 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche > MAT/06 PROBABILITÀ E STATISTICA MATEMATICA
Uncontrolled Keywords:real-time, data-fusion, ICA, tensorial decomposition
Repository Staff approval on:06 Dec 2012 16:15

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