The use of a priori information in ICA-based techniques for real-time fMRI: An evaluation of static/dynamic and spatial/temporal characteristics

Nicola Soldati, Vince D. Calhoun, Lorenzo Bruzzone, Jorge Jovicich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Real-time brain functional MRI (rt-fMRI) allows in vivo non-invasive monitoring of neural networks. The use of multivariate data-driven analysis methods such as independent component analysis (ICA) offers an attractive trade-off between data interpretability and information extraction, and can be used during both task-based and rest experiments.The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of different ICA-based procedures to monitor in real-time a target IC defined from a functional localizer which also used ICA. Four novel methods were implemented to monitor ongoing brain activity in a sliding window approach. The methods differed in the ways in which a priori information, derived from ICA algorithms, was used to monitor a target independent component (IC). We implemented four different algorithms, all based on ICA. One Back-projection method used ICA to derive static spatial information from the functional localizer, off-line, which was then back-projected dynamically during the real-time acquisition.The other three methods used real-time ICA algorithms that dynamically exploited temporal, spatial, or spatial-temporal priors during the real-time acquisition.The methods were evaluated by simulating a rt-fMRI experiment that used real fMRI data. The performance of each method was characterized by the spatial and/or temporal correlation with the target IC component monitored, computation time, and intrinsic stochastic variability of the algorithms. In this study the Back-projection method, which could monitor more than one IC of interest, outperformed the other methods. These results are consistent with a functional task that gives stable target ICs over time.The dynamic adaptation possibilities offered by the other ICA methods proposed may offer better performance than the Back-projection in conditions where the functional activation shows higher spatial and/or temporal variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - Mar 11 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • A priori knowledge
  • Adaptive algorithms
  • Dynamic monitoring
  • ICA
  • Real-time fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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