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Neurophotonics. 2018 Jan;5(1):011006. doi: 10.1117/1.NPh.5.1.011006. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Comparison of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin signal reliability with and without global mean removal for digit manipulation motor tasks.

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Yale School of Medicine, Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, New Haven, Connecticut, United States.
Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, New Haven, Connecticut, United States.
Yale School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, New Haven, Connecticut, United States.
Yale School of Medicine, Department of Comparative Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States.
University College London, Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, London, United Kingdom.


Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) could be well suited for clinical use, such as measuring neural activity before and after treatment; however, reliability and specificity of fNIRS signals must be ensured so that differences can be attributed to the intervention. This study compared the test-retest and longitudinal reliability of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin signals before and after spatial filtering. In the test-retest experiment, 14 participants were scanned on 2 days while performing four right-handed digit-manipulation tasks. Group results revealed greater test-retest reliability for oxyhemoglobin than deoxyhemoglobin signals and greater spatial specificity for the deoxyhemoglobin signals. To further characterize reliability, a longitudinal experiment was conducted in which two participants repeated the same motor tasks for 10 days. Beta values from the two tasks with the lowest and highest test-retest reliability, respectively, in the spatially filtered deoxyhemoglobin signal are reported as representative findings. Both test-retest and longitudinal methods confirmed that task and signal type influence reliability. Oxyhemoglobin signals were more reliable overall than deoxyhemoglobin, and removal of the global mean reduced reliability of both signals. Findings are consistent with the suggestion that systemic components most prevalent in the oxyhemoglobin signal may inflate reliability relative to the deoxyhemoglobin signal, which is less influenced by systemic factors.


finger-tapping; functional near-infrared spectroscopy; global mean; reliability

[Available on 2018-09-14]
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