Effective Preprocessing Procedures Virtually Eliminate Distance-Dependent Motion Artifacts in Resting State FMRI.
ABSTRACT: Artifactual sources of resting-state (RS) FMRI can originate from head motion, physiology, and hardware. Of these sources, motion has received considerable attention and was found to induce corrupting effects by differentially biasing correlations between regions depending on their distance. Numerous corrective approaches have relied on the identification and censoring of high-motion time points and the use of the brain-wide average time series as a nuisance regressor to which the data are orthogonalized (Global Signal Regression, GSReg). We first replicate the previously reported head-motion bias on correlation coefficients using data generously contributed by Power et al. (2012). We then show that while motion can be the source of artifact in correlations, the distance-dependent bias-taken to be a manifestation of the motion effect on correlation-is exacerbated by the use of GSReg. Put differently, correlation estimates obtained after GSReg are more susceptible to the presence of motion and by extension to the levels of censoring. More generally, the effect of motion on correlation estimates depends on the preprocessing steps leading to the correlation estimate, with certain approaches performing markedly worse than others. For this purpose, we consider various models for RS FMRI preprocessing and show that WMeLOCAL, as subset of the ANATICOR discussed by Jo et al. (2010), denoising approach results in minimal sensitivity to motion and reduces by extension the dependence of correlation results on censoring.
Project description:With resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) there are a variety of post-processing methods that can be used to quantify the human brain connectome. However, there is also a choice of which preprocessing steps will be used prior to calculating the functional connectivity of the brain. In this manuscript, we have tested seven different preprocessing schemes and assessed the reliability between and reproducibility within the various strategies by means of graph theoretical measures. Different preprocessing schemes were tested on a publicly available dataset, which includes rs-fMRI data of healthy controls. The brain was parcellated into 190 nodes and four graph theoretical (GT) measures were calculated; global efficiency (GEFF), characteristic path length (CPL), average clustering coefficient (ACC), and average local efficiency (ALE). Our findings indicate that results can significantly differ based on which preprocessing steps are selected. We also found dependence between motion and GT measurements in most preprocessing strategies. We conclude that by using censoring based on outliers within the functional time-series as a processing, results indicate an increase in reliability of GT measurements with a reduction of the dependency of head motion.
Project description:Due to the confounding effects of head motion artifacts on resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC), there has been a growing interest in both acquisition and preprocessing strategies for removing motion-related artifacts from resting state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Rs-fMRI) data. Prospective motion correction by the Siemens' EPI-PACE sequence could offer new insights on the effectiveness of this sequence to correct head motion artifacts in Rs-fMRI data. The head motion parameters along with Rs-fMRI data obtained from 47 healthy individuals scanned with the EPI-PACE sequence is presented in this article. This data is useful to understand the effectiveness of prospective motion correction strategies such as 3D PACE for reducing head motion artifacts in Rs-fMRI data and help devise effective motion correction strategies. The utility of the EPI-PACE sequence in reducing motion correction artifacts in healthy controls can be found in our research article on the topic .
Project description:The preprocessing pipelines typically used in both task and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) analysis are modular in nature: They are composed of a number of separate filtering/regression steps, including removal of head motion covariates and band-pass filtering, performed sequentially and in a flexible order. In this article, we illustrate the shortcomings of this approach, as we show how later preprocessing steps can reintroduce artifacts previously removed from the data in prior preprocessing steps. We show that each regression step is a geometric projection of data onto a subspace, and that performing a sequence of projections can move the data into subspaces no longer orthogonal to those previously removed, reintroducing signal related to nuisance covariates. Thus, linear filtering operations are not commutative, and the order in which the preprocessing steps are performed is critical. These issues can arise in practice when any combination of standard preprocessing steps including motion regression, scrubbing, component-based correction, physiological correction, global signal regression, and temporal filtering are performed sequentially. In this work, we focus primarily on rs-fMRI. We illustrate the problem both theoretically and empirically through application to a test-retest rs-fMRI data set, and suggest remedies. These include (a) combining all steps into a single linear filter, or (b) sequential orthogonalization of covariates/linear filters performed in series.
Project description:Subject motion degrades the quality of task functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Here, we test two classes of methods to counteract the effects of motion in task fMRI data: (1) a variety of motion regressions and (2) motion censoring ("motion scrubbing"). In motion regression, various regressors based on realignment estimates were included as nuisance regressors in general linear model (GLM) estimation. In motion censoring, volumes in which head motion exceeded a threshold were withheld from GLM estimation. The effects of each method were explored in several task fMRI data sets and compared using indicators of data quality and signal-to-noise ratio. Motion censoring decreased variance in parameter estimates within- and across-subjects, reduced residual error in GLM estimation, and increased the magnitude of statistical effects. Motion censoring performed better than all forms of motion regression and also performed well across a variety of parameter spaces, in GLMs with assumed or unassumed response shapes. We conclude that motion censoring improves the quality of task fMRI data and can be a valuable processing step in studies involving populations with even mild amounts of head movement.
Project description:Functional connectivity analysis using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) has emerged as a powerful technique for investigating functional brain networks. The functional connectivity is often quantified by statistical metrics (e.g., Pearson correlation coefficient), which may be affected by many image acquisition and preprocessing steps such as the head motion correction and the global signal regression. The appropriate quantification of the connectivity metrics is essential for meaningful and reproducible scientific findings. We propose a novel empirical Bayes method to normalize the functional brain connectivity metrics on a posterior probability scale. Moreover, the normalization function maps the original connectivity metrics to values between zero and one, which is well-suited for the graph theory based network analysis and avoids the information loss due to the (negative value) hard thresholding step. We apply the normalization method to a simulation study and the simulation results show that our normalization method effectively improves the robustness and reliability of the quantification of brain functional connectivity and provides more powerful group difference (biomarkers) detection. We illustrate our method on an analysis of a rs-fMRI dataset from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange (ABIDE) study.
Project description:Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) offers the possibility to assess brain function independent of explicit tasks and individual performance. This absence of explicit stimuli in rs-fMRI makes analyses more susceptible to nonneural signal fluctuations than task-based fMRI. Data preprocessing is a critical procedure to minimise contamination by artefacts related to motion and physiology. We herein investigate the effects of different preprocessing strategies on the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFFs) and its fractional counterpart, fractional ALFF (fALFF). Sixteen artefact reduction schemes based on nuisance regression are applied to data from 82 subjects acquired at 1.5 T, 30 subjects at 3 T, and 23 subjects at 7 T, respectively. In addition, we examine test-retest variance and effects of bias correction. In total, 569 data sets are included in this study. Our results show that full artefact reduction reduced test-retest variance by up to 50%. Polynomial detrending of rs-fMRI data has a positive effect on group-level t-values for ALFF but, importantly, a negative effect for fALFF. We show that the normalisation process intrinsic to fALFF calculation causes the observed reduction and introduce a novel measure for low-frequency fluctuations denoted as high-frequency ALFF (hfALFF). We demonstrate that hfALFF values are not affected by the negative detrending effects seen in fALFF data. Still, highest grey matter (GM) group-level t-values were obtained for fALFF data without detrending, even when compared to an exploratory detrending approach based on autocorrelation measures. From our results, we recommend the use of full nuisance regression including polynomial detrending in ALFF data, but to refrain from using polynomial detrending in fALFF data. Such optimised preprocessing increases GM group-level t-values by up to 60%.
Project description:Recent studies have highlighted the importance of analyzing spectral power in resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data. Significant modulation of power has been ascribed to the performance of cognitive tasks and has been ascribed clinical significance. However, the role of confounding factors such as head motion on spectral power is not fully understood. Specifically, the spatial distribution of frequency-dependent associations between rs-fMRI power and motion is unknown. We utilized a large rs-fMRI dataset (n=1000) to quantify the influence of head motion on spectral power in different frequency bands. We (1) performed regression analyses across the entire sample and (2) computed difference maps between high- and low-motion groups, more consistent with common experimental designs, and both analyses gave similar results. Greater head motion led to reduced spectral power at lower frequencies (0.007-0.05?Hz), but increased power at higher frequencies (0.12-0.167?Hz). Importantly, our whole-brain voxel-wise analysis showed that brain areas in distributed association networks (e.g., default mode and frontoparietal control networks) were most susceptible to head motion. These results were consistent with or without global signal regression (GSR). Additionally, without GSR, we noted a positive correlation with low-frequency power in the pre- and postcentral gyrus (S1/M1), mid-cingulate cortex, and insula and a negative correlation with mid-frequency (0.05-0.12?Hz) power in S1/M1, visual, and lateral temporal cortices. Hence, head motion significantly affects rs-fMRI power and great care must be taken when assigning a diagnostic marker for clinical populations known to present with greater head motion.
Project description:Global signal regression (GSR) is a commonly used although controversial preprocessing approach in the analysis of resting-state blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Although the effects of GSR on resting-state functional connectivity measures have received much attention, there has been relatively little attention devoted to its effects on studies looking at the relationship between resting-state BOLD measures and independent measures of brain activity. In this study, we used simultaneously acquired electroencephalogram (EEG)-fMRI data in humans to examine the effects of GSR on the correlation between resting-state BOLD fluctuations and EEG vigilance measures. We show that GSR leads to a positive shift in the correlation between the BOLD and vigilance measures. This shift leads to a reduction in the spatial extent of negative correlations in widespread brain areas, including the visual cortex, but leads to the appearance of positive correlations in other areas, such as the cingulate gyrus. The results obtained using GSR are consistent with those of a temporal censoring process in which the correlation is computed using a temporal subset of the data. Since the data from these retained time points are unaffected by the censoring process, this finding suggests that the positive correlations in cingulate gyrus are not simply an artifact of GSR.
Project description:Due to the nature of fMRI acquisition protocols, slices cannot be acquired simultaneously, and as a result, are temporally misaligned from each other. To correct from this misalignment, preprocessing pipelines often incorporate slice timing correction (STC). However, evaluating the benefits of STC is challenging because it (1) is dependent on slice acquisition parameters, (2) interacts with head movement in a non-linear fashion, and (3) significantly changes with other preprocessing steps, fMRI experimental design, and fMRI acquisition parameters. Presently, the interaction of STC with various scan conditions has not been extensively examined. Here, we examine the effect of STC when it is applied with various other preprocessing steps such as motion correction (MC), motion parameter residualization (MPR), and spatial smoothing. Using 180 simulated and 30 real fMRI data, we quantitatively demonstrate that the optimal order in which STC should be applied depends on interleave parameters and motion level. We also demonstrate the benefit STC on sub-second-TR scans and for functional connectivity analysis. We conclude that STC is a critical part of the preprocessing pipeline that can be extremely beneficial for fMRI processing. However, its effectiveness interacts with other preprocessing steps and with other scan parameters and conditions which may obscure its significant importance in the fMRI processing pipeline.
Project description:Resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) is receiving substantial attention for its sensitivity to functional abnormality in the brain networks of people with psychiatric and neurological disorders. However, because of the variety of rs-fMRI processing methods, the necessity of rs-fMRI quality assurance is increasing. Conventionally, the temporal signal-to-noise ratio (tSNR) is generally adopted for quality examination, but the tSNR does not guarantee reliable functional connectivity (FC) outcomes. Theoretically, intrinsic FC is supposed to reflect the spontaneous synchronization of neuronal basis, rather than that from thermal noise or non-neuronal physiological noise. Therefore, we proposed a new quality-assurance index for rs-fMRI to estimate the physiological contributions in spontaneous oscillations (PICSO). The PICSO index was designed as a voxel-wise measure for facilitating practical applications to all existing rs-fMRI data sets on the basis of two assumptions: Gaussian distributions in temporal fluctuations and ultra-slow changes of neural-based physiological fluctuations. To thoroughly validate the sensitivity of the proposed PICSO index to FC, we calibrated the preprocessing steps according to phantom data and verified the relationship between the PICSO and factors that are considered to affect FC in healthy participants (n = 12). Our results demonstrated that FC showed a significantly positive correlation with the PICSO. Moreover, for generating robust FC outcomes, directly acquiring data at a relatively large voxel size was more effective than performing smoothness on high-resolution data sets. In conclusion, compared with tSNR, the PICSO index is more sensitive to the resulting FC, providing a practical quality-assurance indicator for all existing rs-fMRI data sets.