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In Journal of neuroscience methods

BACKGROUND : Resting-state-fMRI is a technique used to explore the functional brain architecture in term of brain networks and their interactions. However, the robustness of Resting-state-fMRI analysis is negatively affected by physiological noise caused by subject head motion. The aim of our study was to provide new knowledge about the effect of normal aging on the head motion signals.

NEW METHOD : For the first time, we proposed a method for evaluating the most sensitive head motion parameters linked to subjects'aging. We enrolled 14-young(9females; mean-age = 28 ± 4.07) and 14-elderly(9females; mean-age = 66 ± 5.19) subjects. Along three axes(X,Y,Z), we extracted six motions parameters which reflected the head's movements to characterize translations(x,y,z) and rotations(angles phi,theta,psi). We performed:1)univariate analysis for comparing the groups and correlation to investigate the relationship between age and movement parameters; 2)Support-Vector-Machine, using bootstrap and calculating the feature importance.

RESULTS : Statistical analyses showed significant association between the aging and some motion's parameters(rotation psi; translations y and z). These results were also confirmed by multivariate analysis with Support-Vector-Machine that presented an AUC of 90%.

COMPARISON TO EXISTING METHODS : The proposed method shows that normal aging produces significant increase in head motion parameters, highlighting the critical effect of motion on resting data analyses in particular considering psi, y and z movements. To our knowledge and at the present, this represents the first study investigating the accurate characterization of motion parameters in aging.

CONCLUSIONS : Our results have a high impact to improve healthy control recruitment and appropriately decreasing the risk of signal distortion, according to the age of enrolled subjects.

SaccĂ  Valeria, Sarica Alessia, Quattrone Andrea, Rocca Federico, Quattrone Aldo, Novellino Fabiana


Aging, Head motions correction, Resting State fMRI, Support Vector Machine, Temporal Signal to Noise Ratio