Send to

Choose Destination
Front Neurosci. 2019 Jul 23;13:736. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00736. eCollection 2019.

Spatiotemporal Empirical Mode Decomposition of Resting-State fMRI Signals: Application to Global Signal Regression.

Moradi N1,2,3, Dousty M4,5, Sotero RC1,2,3.

Author information

Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.
Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.
Computational Neurophysics Lab, Department of Radiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.
Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
KITE, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) is a common method for mapping functional brain networks. However, estimation of these networks is affected by the presence of a common global systemic noise, or global signal (GS). Previous studies have shown that the common preprocessing steps of removing the GS may create spurious correlations between brain regions. In this paper, we decompose fMRI signals into 5 spatial and 3 temporal intrinsic mode functions (SIMF and TIMF, respectively) by means of the empirical mode decomposition (EMD), which is an adaptive data-driven method widely used to analyze non-linear and non-stationary phenomena. For each SIMF, functional connectivity matrices were computed by means of Pearson correlation between TIMFs of different brain areas. Thus, instead of a single connectivity matrix, we obtained 5 × 3 = 15 functional connectivity matrices. Given the high correlation and global efficiency values of the connectivity matrices related to the low spatial maps (SIMF3, SIMF4, and SIMF5), our results suggest that these maps can be considered as spatial global signal masks. Thus, by summing up the first two SIMFs extracted from the fMRI signals, we have automatically excluded the GS which is now voxel-specific. We compared the performance of our method with the conventional GS regression and to the results when the GS was not removed. While the correlation pattern identified by the other methods suffers from a low level of precision in identifying the correct brain network connectivity, our approach demonstrated expected connectivity patterns for the default mode network and task-positive network.


empirical mode decomposition; fMRI; global Signal; low-pass filtering; resting-state functional connectivity MRI; spatial intrinsic mode function; temporal intrinsic mode function

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center