Localization of individual area neuronal activity

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Abstract

A family of methods, collectively known as independent component analysis (ICA), has recently been added to the array of methods designed to decompose a multi-channel signal into components. ICA methods have been applied to raw magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG) signals to remove artifacts, especially when sources such as power line or cardiac activity generate strong components that dominate the signal. More recently, successful ICA extraction of stimulus-evoked responses has been reported from single-trial raw MEG and EEG signals. The extraction of weak components has often been erratic, depending on which ICA method is employed and even on what parameters are used. In this work, we show that if the emphasis is placed on individual “independent components,” as is usually the case with standard ICA applications, differences in the results obtained for different components are exaggerated. We propose instead the reconstruction of regional brain activations by combining tomographic estimates of individual independent components that have been selected by appropriate spatial and temporal criteria. Such localization of individual area neuronal activity (LIANA) allows reliable semi-automatic extraction of single-trial regional activations from raw MEG data. We demonstrate the new method with three different ICA algorithms applied to both computer-generated signals and real data. We show that LIANA provides almost identical results with each ICA method despite the fact that each method yields different individual components.

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