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A new adaptive signal-preserving technique for noise suppression in event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data is proposed based on spectral subtraction. The proposed technique estimates a parametric model for the power spectrum of random noise from the acquired data based on the characteristics of the Rician statistical model. This model is subsequently used to estimate a noise-suppressed power spectrum for any given pixel time course by simple subtraction of power spectra. The new technique is tested using computer simulations and real data from event-related fMRI experiments. The results show the potential of the new technique in suppressing noise while preserving the other deterministic components in the signal. Moreover, we demonstrate that further analysis using principal component analysis and independent component analysis shows a significant improvement in both convergence and clarity of results when the new technique is used. Given its simple form, the new method does not change the statistical characteristics of the signal or cause correlated noise to be present in the processed signal. This suggests the value of the new technique as a useful preprocessing step for fMRI data analysis.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2004