Probe alignment in functional near-infrared spectroscopy.

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Using anatomically defined regions-of-interest to adjust for head-size and probe alignment in functional near-infrared spectroscopy.

Significance: Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) uses surface-placed light sources and detectors to record underlying changes in the brain due to fluctuations in hemoglobin levels and oxygenation. Since these measurements are recorded from the surface of the scalp, the mapping from underlying regions-of-interest (ROIs) in the brain space to the fNIRS channel space measurements depends on the registration of the sensors, the anatomy of the head/brain, and the sensitivity of these diffuse measurements through the tissue. However, small displacements in the probe position can change the distribution of recorded brain activity across the fNIRS measurements. Aim: We propose an approach using either individual or atlas-based brain-space anatomical information to define ROI-based statistical hypotheses to test the null involvement of specific regions, which allows us to test the analogous ROI across subjects while adjusting for fNIRS probe placement and sensitivity differences due to head size variations without a localizer task. Approach: We use the optical forward model to project the underlying brain-space ROI into a tapered contrast vector, which defines the relative weighting of the fNIRS channels contributing to the ROI and allows us to test the null hypothesis of no brain activity in this region during a functional task. We demonstrate this method through simulation and compare the sensitivity-specificity of this approach to other conventional methods. Results: We examine the performance of this method in the scenario where head size and probe registration are both an accurately known parameters and where this is subject to unknown experimental errors. This method is compared with the performance of the conventional method using 364 different simulation parameter combinations. Conclusion: The proposed method is always recommended in ROI-based analysis, since it significantly improves the analysis performance without a localizer task, wherever the fNIRS probe registration is known or unknown.

PMID: 32995360 [PubMed]

Neurophotonics. 2020 Jul;7(3):035008

Authors: Zhai X, Santosa H, Huppert TJ

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