Robust Motion Regression of Resting-State Data Using a Convolutional Neural Network Model.
ABSTRACT: Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) based on the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal has been widely used in healthy individuals and patients to investigate brain functions when the subjects are in a resting or task-negative state. Head motion considerably confounds the interpretation of rs-fMRI data. Nuisance regression is commonly used to reduce motion-related artifacts with six motion parameters estimated from rigid-body realignment as regressors. To further compensate for the effect of head movement, the first-order temporal derivatives of motion parameters and squared motion parameters were proposed previously as possible motion regressors. However, these additional regressors may not be sufficient to model the impact of head motion because of the complexity of motion artifacts. In addition, while using more motion-related regressors could explain more variance in the data, the neural signal may also be removed with increasing number of motion regressors. To better model how in-scanner motion affects rs-fMRI data, a robust and automated convolutional neural network (CNN) model is developed in this study to obtain optimal motion regressors. The CNN network consists of two temporal convolutional layers and the output from the network are the derived motion regressors used in the following nuisance regression. The temporal convolutional layer in the network can non-parametrically model the prolonged effect of head motion. The set of regressors derived from the neural network is compared with the same number of regressors used in a traditional nuisance regression approach. It is demonstrated that the CNN-derived regressors can more effectively reduce motion-related artifacts.
Project description:Recent resting-state functional connectivity fMRI (RS-fcMRI) research has demonstrated that head motion during fMRI acquisition systematically influences connectivity estimates despite bandpass filtering and nuisance regression, which are intended to reduce such nuisance variability. We provide evidence that the effects of head motion and other nuisance signals are poorly controlled when the fMRI time series are bandpass-filtered but the regressors are unfiltered, resulting in the inadvertent reintroduction of nuisance-related variation into frequencies previously suppressed by the bandpass filter, as well as suboptimal correction for noise signals in the frequencies of interest. This is important because many RS-fcMRI studies, including some focusing on motion-related artifacts, have applied this approach. In two cohorts of individuals (n=117 and 22) who completed resting-state fMRI scans, we found that the bandpass-regress approach consistently overestimated functional connectivity across the brain, typically on the order of r=.10-.35, relative to a simultaneous bandpass filtering and nuisance regression approach. Inflated correlations under the bandpass-regress approach were associated with head motion and cardiac artifacts. Furthermore, distance-related differences in the association of head motion and connectivity estimates were much weaker for the simultaneous filtering approach. We recommend that future RS-fcMRI studies ensure that the frequencies of nuisance regressors and fMRI data match prior to nuisance regression, and we advocate a simultaneous bandpass filtering and nuisance regression strategy that better controls nuisance-related variability.
Project description:Head motion is a significant source of noise in the estimation of functional connectivity from resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI). Current strategies to reduce this noise include image realignment, censoring time points corrupted by motion, and including motion realignment parameters and their derivatives as additional nuisance regressors in the general linear model. However, this nuisance regression approach assumes that the motion-induced signal changes are linearly related to the estimated realignment parameters, which is not always the case. In this study we develop an improved model of motion-related signal changes, where nuisance regressors are formed by first rotating and translating a single brain volume according to the estimated motion, re-registering the data, and then performing a principal components analysis (PCA) on the resultant time series of both moved and re-registered data. We show that these "Motion Simulated (MotSim)" regressors account for significantly greater fraction of variance, result in higher temporal signal-to-noise, and lead to functional connectivity estimates that are less affected by motion compared to the most common current approach of using the realignment parameters and their derivatives as nuisance regressors. This improvement should lead to more accurate estimates of functional connectivity, particularly in populations where motion is prevalent, such as patients and young children.
Project description:Noise correction is a critical step towards accurate mapping of resting state BOLD fMRI connectivity. Noise sources related to head motion or physiology are typically modelled by nuisance regressors, and a generalised linear model is applied to regress out the associated signal variance. In this study, we use independent component analysis (ICA) to characterise the data variance typically discarded in this pre-processing stage in a cohort of 12 healthy volunteers. The signal variance removed by 24, 12, 6, or only 3 head motion parameters demonstrated network structure typically associated with functional connectivity, and certain networks were discernable in the variance extracted by as few as 2 physiologic regressors. Simulated nuisance regressors, unrelated to the true data noise, also removed variance with network structure, indicating that any group of regressors that randomly sample variance may remove highly structured "signal" as well as "noise." Furthermore, to support this we demonstrate that random sampling of the original data variance continues to exhibit robust network structure, even when as few as 10% of the original volumes are considered. Finally, we examine the diminishing returns of increasing the number of nuisance regressors used in pre-processing, showing that excessive use of motion regressors may do little better than chance in removing variance within a functional network. It remains an open challenge to understand the balance between the benefits and confounds of noise correction using nuisance regressors.
Project description:Recent fMRI studies have outlined the critical impact of in-scanner head motion, particularly on estimates of functional connectivity. Common strategies to reduce the influence of motion include realignment as well as the inclusion of nuisance regressors, such as the 6 realignment parameters, their first derivatives, time-shifted versions of the realignment parameters, and the squared parameters. However, these regressors have limited success at noise reduction. We hypothesized that using nuisance regressors consisting of the principal components (PCs) of edge voxel time series would be better able to capture slice-specific and nonlinear signal changes, thus explaining more variance, improving data quality (i.e., lower DVARS and temporal SNR), and reducing the effect of motion on default-mode network connectivity. Functional MRI data from 22 healthy adult subjects were preprocessed using typical motion regression approaches as well as nuisance regression derived from edge voxel time courses. Results were evaluated in the presence and absence of both global signal regression and motion censoring. Nuisance regressors derived from signal intensity time courses at the edge of the brain significantly improved motion correction compared to using only the realignment parameters and their derivatives. Of the models tested, only the edge voxel regression models were able to eliminate significant differences in default-mode network connectivity between high- and low-motion subjects regardless of the use of global signal regression or censoring.
Project description:Recent studies have illustrated that motion-related artifacts remain in resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) data even after common corrective processing procedures have been applied, but the extent to which head motion distorts the data may be modulated by the corrective approach taken. We compare two different methods for estimating nuisance signals from tissues not expected to exhibit BOLD fMRI signals of neuronal origin: 1) the more commonly used mean signal method and 2) the principal components analysis approach (aCompCor: Behzadi et al., 2007). Further, we investigate the added benefit of "scrubbing" (Power et al., 2012) following both methods. We demonstrate that the use of aCompCor removes motion artifacts more effectively than tissue-mean signal regression. In addition, inclusion of more components from anatomically defined regions of no interest better mitigates motion-related artifacts and improves the specificity of functional connectivity estimates. While scrubbing further attenuates motion-related artifacts when mean signals are used, scrubbing provides no additional benefit in terms of motion artifact reduction or connectivity specificity when using aCompCor.
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: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:In resting state fMRI, it is necessary to remove signal variance associated with noise sources, leaving cleaned fMRI time-series that more accurately reflect the underlying intrinsic brain fluctuations of interest. This is commonly achieved through nuisance regression, in which the fit is calculated of a noise model of head motion and physiological processes to the fMRI data in a General Linear Model, and the "cleaned" residuals of this fit are used in further analysis. We examine the statistical assumptions and requirements of the General Linear Model, and whether these are met during nuisance regression of resting state fMRI data. Using toy examples and real data we show how pre-whitening, temporal filtering and temporal shifting of regressors impact model fit. Based on our own observations, existing literature, and statistical theory, we make the following recommendations when employing nuisance regression: pre-whitening should be applied to achieve valid statistical inference of the noise model fit parameters; temporal filtering should be incorporated into the noise model to best account for changes in degrees of freedom; temporal shifting of regressors, although merited, should be achieved via optimisation and validation of a single temporal shift. We encourage all readers to make simple, practical changes to their fMRI denoising pipeline, and to regularly assess the appropriateness of the noise model used. By negotiating the potential pitfalls described in this paper, and by clearly reporting the details of nuisance regression in future manuscripts, we hope that the field will achieve more accurate and precise noise models for cleaning the resting state fMRI time-series.
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:Head movements are typically viewed as a nuisance to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis, and are particularly problematic for resting state fMRI. However, there is growing evidence that head motion is a behavioral trait with neural and genetic underpinnings. Using data from a large randomly ascertained extended pedigree sample of Mexican Americans (n = 689), we modeled the genetic structure of head motion during resting state fMRI and its relation to 48 other demographic and behavioral phenotypes. A replication analysis was performed using data from the Human Connectome Project, which uses an extended twin design (n = 864). In both samples, head motion was significantly heritable (h2 = 0.313 and 0.427, respectively), and phenotypically correlated with numerous traits. The most strongly replicated relationship was between head motion and body mass index, which showed evidence of shared genetic influences in both data sets. These results highlight the need to view head motion in fMRI as a complex neurobehavioral trait correlated with a number of other demographic and behavioral phenotypes. Given this, when examining individual differences in functional connectivity, the confounding of head motion with other traits of interest needs to be taken into consideration alongside the critical important of addressing head motion artifacts.