A fully Bayesian approach to the parcel-based detection-estimation of brain activity in fMRI.

Abstract : Within-subject analysis in fMRI essentially addresses two problems, i.e., the detection of activated brain regions in response to an experimental task and the estimation of the underlying dynamics, also known as the characterisation of Hemodynamic response function (HRF). So far, both issues have been treated sequentially while it is known that the HRF model has a dramatic impact on the localisation of activations and that the HRF shape may vary from one region to another. In this paper, we conciliate both issues in a region-based joint detection-estimation framework that we develop in the Bayesian formalism. Instead of considering function basis to account for spatial variability, spatially adaptive General Linear Models are built upon region-based non-parametric estimation of brain dynamics. Regions are first identified as functionally homogeneous parcels in the mask of the grey matter using a specific procedure [Thirion, B., Flandin, G., Pinel, P., Roche, A., Ciuciu, P., Poline, J.-B., August 2006. Dealing with the shortcomings of spatial normalization: Multi-subject parcellation of fMRI datasets. Hum. Brain Mapp. 27 (8), 678-693.]. Then, in each parcel, prior information is embedded to constrain this estimation. Detection is achieved by modelling activating, deactivating and non-activating voxels through mixture models within each parcel. From the posterior distribution, we infer upon the model parameters using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) techniques. Bayesian model comparison allows us to emphasize on artificial datasets first that inhomogeneous gamma-Gaussian mixture models outperform Gaussian mixtures in terms of sensitivity/specificity trade-off and second that it is worthwhile modelling serial correlation through an AR(1) noise process at low signal-to-noise (SNR) ratio. Our approach is then validated on an fMRI experiment that studies habituation to auditory sentence repetition. This phenomenon is clearly recovered as well as the hierarchical temporal organisation of the superior temporal sulcus, which is directly derived from the parcel-based HRF estimates.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 23, 2008 - 4:41:37 PM
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Salima Makni, Jérôme Idier, Thomas Vincent, Bertrand Thirion, Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, et al.. A fully Bayesian approach to the parcel-based detection-estimation of brain activity in fMRI.. NeuroImage, Elsevier, 2008, 41 (3), pp.941-69. <10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.02.017>. <cea-00333624>

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