Wednesday, September 27, 2017

voxelwise standard deviation at different MB/SMS acquisitions

I've previously posted about using standard deviation and mean images to evaluate fMRI data quality, and practiCAL fMRI has a very useful series of posts explaining how various artifacts look in these images. In this post I use HCP (MB/SMS 8, RL/LR, customized scanner), and some images from one of our studies (MB4 and MB8, AP/PA, Siemens Prisma scanner); see links for acquisition details, and afni commands to generate these images is after the jump.

These tests were inspired by the work of Benjamin Risk, particularly his illustrations of banding and poor middle-of-the-brain sensitivity in the residuals (e.g., slides 28 and 29 of his OHBM talk). He mentioned that you can see some of the same patterns in simple standard deviation (stdev) images, which are in this post.

Here is a typical example of what I've been seeing with raw (not preprocessed) images. The HCP and MB8 scans are of the same person. The HCP scan is of the WM_RL task; the other two are of one of our tasks and the runs are about 12 minutes in duration (much longer than the HCP task). These MB8 and MB4 runs have low overall motion.

 Looking closely, horizontal bands are visible in the HCP and MB8 images (marked with green arrows). None of the MB4 images I've checked have such banding (though all the HCP ones I've looked at do); sensible anatomy (big vessels, brain edges, etc.) is brightest at MB4, as it should be.

Here are the same runs again, after preprocessing (HCP pipelines minimal preprocessing pipelines), first with all three at a low color threshold (800), second, with all three at a high color threshold (2000).

The HCP run is "washed out" at the 800 threshold with much higher standard deviation in the middle of the brain. Increasing the color scaling makes some anatomy visible in the HCP stdev map, but not as much as the others, and with a hint of the banding (marked with green arrows; easier to see in 3d). The MB4 and MB8 runs don't have as dramatic a "wash out" at any color scaling, with more anatomic structure visible at MB8 and especially MB4.The horizontal banding is still somewhat visible in the MB8 run (marked with an arrow), and the MB4 run has much lower stdev at the tip of the frontal lobe (marked with a green arc). tSNR versions of these images are below the jump.

These patterns are in line with Todd et. al (2017), as well as Benjamin Risk's residual maps. I'm encouraged that it looks like we're getting better signal-to-noise with our MB4 scans (though will be investigating the frontal dropout). Other metrics (innovation variance? GLM residuals?) may be even more useful for exploring these patterns. I suspect that some of the difference between the HCP and MB8 runs above may be due to the longer MB8 runs, but haven't confirmed.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

yet more with respiration and motion regressors

Last year I did a series of posts on our experiences with multiband (SMS) task fMRI, particularly related to the respiration-related oscillations that are very apparent in the motion regressors of some people. See also practiCal fMRI's posts, especially this one. The tests and analyses here extend those, and convince me that the oscillations are not due to actual head motion, but rather B0 modulation or something else related to chest motion and/or blood oxygenation ("apparent head motion").

These scans are all using this previously-described MB4 acquisition sequence, and an experienced test person with rather prominent respiratory oscillations (the same person is in these first two plots) but little overt motion. We've been evaluating using Caseforge headcases to reduce movement and ensure consistent head positioning in the headcoil. We have two Caseforge headcases for this person: one fits quite tightly, and the other a little looser. This gives a set of comparison runs: with foam packing only (allowing more movement); with the regular Caseforge (some, but not much, movement possible); and with the tight Caseforge (motion essentially impossible).

The plots below show the 6 motion regressors (calculated from SPM12's realignment) and raw respiration signal (with a Siemens belt). I'm pretty confident that the motion regressors and respiration are precisely aligned here (it was approximate in some of last year's plots). The vertical grey lines mark one-minute intervals; the TR was 1.2 seconds. The tick marks show task onset; each run had three blocks of a verbal-response Stroop task.

First, here is a run without a headcase (normal packing). The difference in raw respiration amplitude between rest and task blocks is clear, as is some drifting over the course of the run. The y and z regressors closely match the respiration trace; hopefully you can zoom in to see that the y, z, and respiration curves are in phase - if the respiration curve goes up, both the y and z lines also go up. This was the case for all AP (anterior-posterior) encoded runs.

Next, here is a run of the same task and encoding (AP), with the very tight headcase. The oscillations in the y and z are still tightly matched to the respiration and about the same amplitude as before, but the drifting and rotation is quite reduced.

Finally, here is the same task, but the looser Caseforge headcase, and the reverse encoding (PA). The rotation is perhaps a bit more than with the tight headcase, but overall drift is quite low. The magnitude of the y and z oscillations is again about the same as the previous plots. If you look closely, the y line is out of phase from the respiration and z lines: the z line still goes up when the respiration goes up, but the y goes down.

We ran other tests, including some breath-holding. This is about two minutes of an AP and PA run breath-holding segment. The y-axis flipping is hopefully easier to see here: the blue peaks match the respiration peaks with AP, but fall in between on PA.

This y-axis flipping with encoding direction, plus the consistency of oscillation size across head stabilizers, has me convinced that we're seeing something other than overt head motion: I just don't believe he could have adjusted his y-axis movement with encoding direction that precisely, even had he known which encoding we were using each run.

If any of you have thoughts, or would like to look at these datasets to run additional tests, please let me know.

UPDATE 11 October 2018: This dataset is now available for download on, DOI:10.18112/openneuro.ds002737.v1.0.1 (was 10.18112/openneuro.ds001544.v1.1.0), called "multibandCFtests". (Note: I updated the links August 2020; the dataset was not properly deidentified the first time, requiring correction by the openneuro team - thanks!)