A quality control method for detecting and suppressing uncorrected residual motion in fMRI studies. Academic Article uri icon


  • Motion correction is an important step in the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis pipeline. While many studies simply exclude subjects who are estimated to have moved beyond an arbitrary threshold, there exists no objective method for determining an appropriate threshold. Furthermore, any criterion based only upon motion estimation ignores the potential for proper realignment. The method proposed here uses unsupervised learning (specifically k-means clustering) on features derived from the mean square derivative (MSD) of the signal before and after realignment to identify problem data. These classifications are refined through analysis of correlation between subject activation maps and the mean activation map, as well as the relationship between tasking and motion as measured through regression of the canonical hemodynamic response functions to fit both estimated motion parameters and MSD. The MSD is further used to identify specific scans containing residual motion, data which is suppressed by adding nuisance regressors to the general linear model; this statistical suppression is performed for identified problem subjects, but has potential for use over all subjects. For problem subjects, our results show increased hemodynamic activity more consistent with group results; that is, the addition of nuisance regressors resulted in a doubling of the correlation between the activation map for the problem subjects and the activation map for all subjects. The proposed method should be useful in helping fMRI researchers make more efficient use of their data by reducing the need to exclude entire subjects from studies and thus collect new data to replace excluded subjects.Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • June 2013