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PLoS One. 2020 Jan 8;15(1):e0227021. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227021. eCollection 2020.

Percent amplitude of fluctuation: A simple measure for resting-state fMRI signal at single voxel level.

Jia XZ1,2, Sun JW3, Ji GJ1,2,4, Liao W1,2, Lv YT1,2, Wang J1,2, Wang Z1,2, Zhang H1,2, Liu DQ1,2, Zang YF1,2.

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Center for Cognition and Brain Disorders, Institutes of Psychological Sciences, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
Zhejiang Key Laboratory for Research in Assessment of Cognitive Impairments, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
School of Information and Electronics Technology, Jiamusi University, Jiamusi, Heilongjiang, China.
Department of Medical Psychology, Chaohu Clinical Medical College, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China.


The amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation (ALFF) measures resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI) signal of each voxel. However, the unit of blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal is arbitrary and hence ALFF is sensitive to the scale of raw signal. A well-accepted standardization procedure is to divide each voxel's ALFF by the global mean ALFF, named mALFF. Although fractional ALFF (fALFF), a ratio of the ALFF to the total amplitude within the full frequency band, offers possible solution of the standardization, it actually mixes with the fluctuation power within the full frequency band and thus cannot reveal the true amplitude characteristics of a given frequency band. The current study borrowed the percent signal change in task fMRI studies and proposed percent amplitude of fluctuation (PerAF) for RS-fMRI. We firstly applied PerAF and mPerAF (i.e., divided by global mean PerAF) to eyes open (EO) vs. eyes closed (EC) RS-fMRI data. PerAF and mPerAF yielded prominently difference between EO and EC, being well consistent with previous studies. We secondly performed test-retest reliability analysis and found that (PerAF ≈ mPerAF ≈ mALFF) > (fALFF ≈ mfALFF). Head motion regression (Friston-24) increased the reliability of PerAF, but decreased all other metrics (e.g. mPerAF, mALFF, fALFF, and mfALFF). The above results suggest that mPerAF is a valid, more reliable, more straightforward, and hence a promising metric for voxel-level RS-fMRI studies. Future study could use both PerAF and mPerAF metrics. For prompting future application of PerAF, we implemented PerAF in a new version of REST package named RESTplus.

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