Source density-driven independent component analysis approach for fMRI data

Baoming Hong, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Vince D. Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Independent component analysis (ICA) has become a popular tool for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data analysis. Conventional ICA algorithms including Infomax and FAST-ICA algorithms employ the underlying assumption that data can be decomposed into statistically independent sources and implicitly model the probability density functions of the underlying sources as highly kurtotic or symmetric. When source data violate these assumptions (e.g., are asymmetric), however, conventional ICA methods might not work well. As a result, modeling of the underlying sources becomes an important issue for ICA applications. We propose a source density-driven ICA (SD-ICA) method. The SD-ICA algorithm involves a two-step procedure. It uses a conventional ICA algorithm to obtain initial independent source estimates for the first-step and then, using a kernel estimator technique, the source density is calculated. A refitted nonlinear function is used for each source at the second step. We show that the proposed SD-ICA algorithm provides flexible source adaptivity and improves ICA performance. On SD-ICA application to fMRI signals, the physiologic meaningful components (e.g., activated regions) of fMRI signals are governed typically by a small percentage of the whole-brain map on a task-related activation. Extra prior information (using a skewed-weighted distribution transformation) is thus additionally applied to the algorithm for the regions of interest of data (e.g., visual activated regions) to emphasize the importance of the tail part of the distribution. Our experimental results show that the source density-driven ICA method can improve performance further by incorporating some a priori information into ICA analysis of fMRI signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-307
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Blind source separation
  • Brain mapping
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Independent component analysis (ICA)
  • Infomax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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