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978-3-8439-0781-1, Reihe Statistik

Stefanie Kalus
Biostatistical Modeling and Analysis of Combined fMRI and EEG Measurements

283 Seiten, Dissertation Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (2012), Softcover, A5

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

The purpose of brain mapping techniques is to advance the understanding of the relationship between structure and function in the human brain. In this thesis, an advanced statistical model for combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) recordings is developed to fuse complementary information about the location of neuronal activity. More precisely, a new Bayesian method is proposed for enhancing fMRI activation detection by the use of EEG-based spatial prior information in stimulus based experimental paradigms. This method builds upon a newly developed mere fMRI activation detection method.

In general, activation detection corresponds to stimulus regressors having an effect on the fMRI signal trajectory in a voxelwise linear model. We model stimulus influence by a spatial Bayesian variable selection scheme, and extend existing high-dimensional regression methods by incorporating prior information on binary selection indicators via a latent probit regression. For mere fMRI activation detection, the predictor consists of a spatially-varying intercept only. For EEG-enhanced schemes, an EEG effect is added, which is either chosen to be spatially-varying or constant. Spatially-varying effects are regularized by different Markov random field priors.

Statistical inference in resulting high-dimensional hierarchical models becomes rather challenging from a modeling perspective as well as with regard to numerical issues. In this thesis, inference is based on a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) approach relying on global updates of effect maps. Additionally, a faster algorithm is developed based on single-site updates to circumvent the computationally intensive, high-dimensional, sparse Cholesky decompositions.

The proposed algorithms are examined in both simulation studies and real-world applications. Performance is evaluated in terms of convergency properties, the ability to produce interpretable results, and the sensitivity and specificity of corresponding activation classification rules. The main question is whether the use of EEG information can increase the power of fMRI models to detect activated voxels.

In summary, the new algorithms show a substantial increase in sensitivity compared to existing fMRI activation detection methods like classical SPM. Carefully selected EEG--prior information additionally increases sensitivity in activation regions that have been distorted by a low signal-to-noise ratio.