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Novel neuroimaging techniques have provided unprecedented information on the structure and function of the living human brain. Multimodal fusion of data from different sensors promises to radically improve this understanding, yet optimal methods have not been developed. Here, we demonstrate a novel method for combining multichannel signals. We show how this method can be used to fuse signals from the magnetometer and gradiometer sensors used in magnetoencephalography (MEG), and through extensive experiments using simulation, head phantom and real MEG data, show that it is both robust and accurate. This new approach works by assuming that the lead fields have multiplicative error. The criterion to estimate the error is given within a spatial filter framework such that the estimated power is minimized in the worst case scenario. The method is compared to, and found better than, existing approaches. The closed-form solution and the conditions under which the multiplicative error can be optimally estimated are provided. This novel approach can also be employed for multimodal fusion of other multichannel signals such as MEG and EEG. Although the multiplicative error is estimated based on beamforming, other methods for source analysis can equally be used after the lead-field modification.
Date of Publication: July 2012