Wavelet-based fMRI analysis: 3-D denoising, signal separation, and validation metrics

Siddharth Khullar, Andrew Michael, Nicolle Correa, Tulay Adali, Stefi A. Baum, Vince D. Calhoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We present a novel integrated wavelet-domain based framework (w-ICA) for 3-D denoising functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data followed by source separation analysis using independent component analysis (ICA) in the wavelet domain. We propose the idea of a 3-D wavelet-based multi-directional denoising scheme where each volume in a 4-D fMRI data set is sub-sampled using the axial, sagittal and coronal geometries to obtain three different slice-by-slice representations of the same data. The filtered intensity value of an arbitrary voxel is computed as an expected value of the denoised wavelet coefficients corresponding to the three viewing geometries for each sub-band. This results in a robust set of denoised wavelet coefficients for each voxel. Given the de-correlated nature of these denoised wavelet coefficients, it is possible to obtain more accurate source estimates using ICA in the wavelet domain. The contributions of this work can be realized as two modules: First, in the analysis module we combine a new 3-D wavelet denoising approach with signal separation properties of ICA in the wavelet domain. This step helps obtain an activation component that corresponds closely to the true underlying signal, which is maximally independent with respect to other components. Second, we propose and describe two novel shape metrics for post-ICA comparisons between activation regions obtained through different frameworks. We verified our method using simulated as well as real fMRI data and compared our results against the conventional scheme (Gaussian smoothing. +. spatial ICA: s-ICA). The results show significant improvements based on two important features: (1) preservation of shape of the activation region (shape metrics) and (2) receiver operating characteristic curves. It was observed that the proposed framework was able to preserve the actual activation shape in a consistent manner even for very high noise levels in addition to significant reduction in false positive voxels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2867-2884
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 14 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • 3-D wavelets
  • Denoising
  • Functional MRI
  • ICA
  • Validation metrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Wavelet-based fMRI analysis: 3-D denoising, signal separation, and validation metrics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this