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Correcting for Superficial Bias in 7T Gradient Echo fMRI.

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Huang, Pei 
Correia, Marta M 
Rua, Catarina 
Rodgers, Christopher T 
Henson, Richard N 


The arrival of submillimeter ultra high-field fMRI makes it possible to compare activation profiles across cortical layers. However, the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal measured by gradient echo (GE) fMRI is biased toward superficial layers of the cortex, which is a serious confound for laminar analysis. Several univariate and multivariate analysis methods have been proposed to correct this bias. We compare these methods using computational simulations of 7T fMRI data from regions of interest (ROI) during a visual attention paradigm. We also tested the methods on a pilot dataset of human 7T fMRI data. The simulations show that two methods-the ratio of ROI means across conditions and a novel application of Deming regression-offer the most robust correction for superficial bias. Deming regression has the additional advantage that it does not require that the conditions differ in their mean activation over voxels within an ROI. When applied to the pilot dataset, we observed strikingly different layer profiles when different attention metrics were used, but were unable to discern any differences in laminar attention across layers when Deming regression or ROI ratio was applied. Our simulations demonstrates that accurate correction of superficial bias is crucial to avoid drawing erroneous conclusions from laminar analyses of GE fMRI data, and this is affirmed by the results from our pilot 7T fMRI data.



7T GE-fMRI, Deming regression, computational modeling, fMRI methods, superficial bias correction

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Front Neurosci

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Frontiers Media SA


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Wellcome Trust (Unknown)
Wellcome Trust (098436/Z/12/B)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00005/8)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00005/14)
This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). The BRC is a partnership between Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Cambridge, funded by the NIHR. CTR is funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society [098436/Z/12/B].
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