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Using fMRI non-local means denoising to uncover activation in sub-cortical structures at 1.5 T for guided HARDI tractography

Bernier, Michael, Chamberland, Maxime, Houde, Jean-Christophe, Descoteaux, Maxime and Whittingstall, Kevin 2014. Using fMRI non-local means denoising to uncover activation in sub-cortical structures at 1.5 T for guided HARDI tractography. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8 , 715. 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00715

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Abstract

In recent years, there has been ever-increasing interest in combining functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) for better understanding the link between cortical activity and connectivity, respectively. However, it is challenging to detect and validate fMRI activity in key sub-cortical areas such as the thalamus, given that they are prone to susceptibility artifacts due to the partial volume effects (PVE) of surrounding tissues (GM/WM interface). This is especially true on relatively low-field clinical MR systems (e.g., 1.5 T). We propose to overcome this limitation by using a spatial denoising technique used in structural MRI and more recently in diffusion MRI called non-local means (NLM) denoising, which uses a patch-based approach to suppress the noise locally. To test this, we measured fMRI in 20 healthy subjects performing three block-based tasks : eyes-open closed (EOC) and left/right finger tapping (FTL, FTR). Overall, we found that NLM yielded more thalamic activity compared to traditional denoising methods. In order to validate our pipeline, we also investigated known structural connectivity going through the thalamus using HARDI tractography: the optic radiations, related to the EOC task, and the cortico-spinal tract (CST) for FTL and FTR. To do so, we reconstructed the tracts using functionally based thalamic and cortical ROIs to initiates seeds of tractography in a two-level coarse-to-fine fashion. We applied this method at the single subject level, which allowed us to see the structural connections underlying fMRI thalamic activity. In summary, we propose a new fMRI processing pipeline which uses a recent spatial denoising technique (NLM) to successfully detect sub-cortical activity which was validated using an advanced dMRI seeding strategy in single subjects at 1.5 T.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Frontiers
ISSN: 1662-5161
Date of Acceptance: 26 August 2014
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2018 14:30
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/114847

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