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Neuroimage. 2007 Jan 15;34(2):587-97. Epub 2006 Nov 16.

Improved quality of auditory event-related potentials recorded simultaneously with 3-T fMRI: removal of the ballistocardiogram artefact.

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MRC Institute of Hearing Research Southampton, Royal South Hants Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK.


EEG signals recorded simultaneously with fMRI are massively compromised by severe artefacts, among them the cardiac cycle-related ballistocardiogram (BCG) artefact. Different methods have been proposed to remove the BCG artefact focusing on channel-wise template subtraction procedures or spatial filtering approaches such as independent component analysis (ICA). Here we systematically compared the performance of the optimal basis set (OBS), a channel-wise correction approach, with ICA and a recently proposed combination of both (OBS-ICA). The three different procedures were applied to 60-channel EEG data from 12 subjects recorded during fMRI acquisition in a 3-T scanner. In addition to examination of the residual BCG artefact, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the topography of the resulting auditory evoked potential component N1 were compared. Whereas all three approaches led to a significant artefact reduction, the ICA procedure resulted in a significantly reduced N1 SNR and amplitude when compared to BCG-uncorrected data, indicating a rather poor performance. In contrast to ICA, OBS and OBS-ICA corrected data substantially improved the SNR of the N1. The quality of the auditory evoked potential N1 topography was investigated by means of equivalent current dipole modelling. On a descriptive level, all three correction procedures led to a reduced localization error when compared to BCG-uncorrected data. This improvement was significant for OBS-ICA. We conclude that OBS and OBS-ICA can efficiently remove BCG artefacts and substantially improve the quality of EEG signals recorded inside the scanner, a prerequisite for the successful integration of simultaneously recorded EEG and fMRI.

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