A new meta-analytic method for neuroimaging studies that combines reported peak coordinates and statistical parametric maps

Eur Psychiatry. 2012 Nov;27(8):605-11. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2011.04.001. Epub 2011 Jun 11.


Meta-analyses are essential to summarize the results of the growing number of neuroimaging studies in psychiatry, neurology and allied disciplines. Image-based meta-analyses use full image information (i.e. the statistical parametric maps) and well-established statistics, but images are rarely available making them highly unfeasible. Peak-probability meta-analyses such as activation likelihood estimation (ALE) or multilevel kernel density analysis (MKDA) are more feasible as they only need reported peak coordinates. Signed-differences methods, such as signed differential mapping (SDM) build upon the positive features of existing peak-probability methods and enable meta-analyses of studies comparing patients with controls. In this paper we present a new version of SDM, named Effect Size SDM (ES-SDM), which enables the combination of statistical parametric maps and peak coordinates and uses well-established statistics. We validated the new method by comparing the results of an ES-SDM meta-analysis of studies on the brain response to fearful faces with the results of a pooled analysis of the original individual data. The results showed that ES-SDM is a valid and reliable coordinate-based method, whose performance might be additionally increased by including statistical parametric maps. We anticipate that ES-SDM will be a helpful tool for researchers in the fields of psychiatry, neurology and allied disciplines.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Brain Mapping / statistics & numerical data
  • Facial Expression
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Neuroimaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results