Comparison of short-channel separation and spatial domain filtering for removal of non-neural components in functional near-infrared spectroscopy signals

Neurophotonics. 2021 Jan;8(1):015004. doi: 10.1117/1.NPh.8.1.015004. Epub 2021 Feb 13.


Significance: With the increasing popularity of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), the need to determine localization of the source and nature of the signals has grown. Aim: We compare strategies for removal of non-neural signals for a finger-thumb tapping task, which shows responses in contralateral motor cortex and a visual checkerboard viewing task that produces activity within the occipital lobe. Approach: We compare temporal regression strategies using short-channel separation to a spatial principal component (PC) filter that removes global signals present in all channels. For short-channel temporal regression, we compare non-neural signal removal using first and combined first and second PCs from a broad distribution of short channels to limited distribution on the forehead. Results: Temporal regression of non-neural information from broadly distributed short channels did not differ from forehead-only distribution. Spatial PC filtering provides results similar to short-channel separation using the temporal domain. Utilizing both first and second PCs from short channels removes additional non-neural information. Conclusions: We conclude that short-channel information in the temporal domain and spatial domain regression filtering methods remove similar non-neural components represented in scalp hemodynamics from fNIRS signals and that either technique is sufficient to remove non-neural components.

Keywords: functional near-infrared spectroscopy; short channel; spatial filter; systemic artifact.