Background: Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a non-invasive neuroimaging technique that recently has been developed to measure the changes of cerebral blood oxygenation associated with brain activities. To date, for functional brain mapping applications, there is no standard on-line method for analysing NIRS data.
Methods: In this paper, a novel on-line NIRS data analysis framework taking advantages of both the general linear model (GLM) and the Kalman estimator is devised. The Kalman estimator is used to update the GLM coefficients recursively, and one critical coefficient regarding brain activities is then passed to a t-statistical test. The t-statistical test result is used to update a topographic brain activation map. Meanwhile, a set of high-pass filters is plugged into the GLM to prevent very low-frequency noises, and an autoregressive (AR) model is used to prevent the temporal correlation caused by physiological noises in NIRS time series. A set of data recorded in finger tapping experiments is studied using the proposed framework.
Results: The obtained results suggest that the method can effectively track the task related brain activation areas, and prevent the noise distortion in the estimation while the experiment is running. Thereby, the potential of the proposed method for real-time NIRS-based brain imaging was demonstrated.
Conclusions: This paper presents a novel on-line approach for analysing NIRS data for functional brain mapping applications. This approach demonstrates the potential of a real-time-updating topographic brain activation map.