PublicationsCarbon-wire loop based artifact correction outperforms post-processing EEG/fMRI corrections-A validation of a real-time simultaneous EEG/fMRI correction method
Simultaneous EEG-fMRI combines two powerful neuroimaging techniques, but the EEG signal suffers from severe artifacts in the MRI environment that are difficult to remove. These are the MR scanning artifact and the blood-pulsation artifact – strategies to remove them are a topic of ongoing research. Additionally large, unsystematic artifacts are produced across the full frequency spectrum by the magnet’s helium pump (and ventilator) systems which are notoriously hard to remove. As a consequence, experimenters routinely deactivate the helium pump during simultaneous EEG-fMRI acquisitions which potentially risks damaging the MRI system and necessitates more frequent and expensive helium refills. We present a novel correction method addressing both helium pump and ballisto-cardiac (BCG) artifacts, consisting of carbon-wire loops (CWL) as additional sensors to accurately track unpredictable artifacts related to subtle movements in the scanner, and an EEGLAB plugin to perform artifact correction. We compare signal-to-noise metrics of EEG data, corrected with CWL and three conventional correction methods, for helium pump off and on measurements. Because the CWL setup records signals in real-time, it fits requirements of applications where immediate correction is necessary, such as neuro-feedback applications or stimulation time-locked to specific sleep oscillations. The comparison metrics in this paper relate to: (1) the EEG signal itself, (2) the “eyes open vs. eyes closed” effect, and (3) an assessment of how the artifact corrections impacts the ability to perform meaningful correlations between EEG alpha power and the BOLD signal. Results show that the CWL correction corrects for He pump artifact and also produces EEG data more comparable to EEG obtained outside the magnet than conventional post-processing methods.