Virtual spatial registration of stand-alone fNIRS data to MNI space

Neuroimage. 2007 Feb 15;34(4):1506-18. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.10.043. Epub 2007 Jan 3.


The registration of functional brain data to common stereotaxic brain space facilitates data sharing and integration across different subjects, studies, and even imaging modalities. Thus, we previously described a method for the probabilistic registration of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) data onto Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) coordinate space that can be used even when magnetic resonance images of the subjects are not available. This method, however, requires the careful measurement of scalp landmarks and fNIRS optode positions using a 3D-digitizer. Here we present a novel registration method, based on simulations in place of physical measurements for optode positioning. First, we constructed a holder deformation algorithm and examined its validity by comparing virtual and actual deformation of holders on spherical phantoms and real head surfaces. The discrepancies were negligible. Next, we registered virtual holders on synthetic heads and brains that represent size and shape variations among the population. The registered positions were normalized to MNI space. By repeating this process across synthetic heads and brains, we statistically estimated the most probable MNI coordinate values, and clarified errors, which were in the order of several millimeters across the scalp, associated with this estimation. In essence, the current method allowed the spatial registration of completely stand-alone fNIRS data onto MNI space without the use of supplementary measurements. This method will not only provide a practical solution to the spatial registration issues in fNIRS studies, but will also enhance cross-modal communications within the neuroimaging community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface