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Functional magnetic resonance (MR) MR imaging (fMRI) with blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) contrast localizes neuronal processing of cognitive paradigms. As magnetic resonance signal responses are small, functional mapping requires statistical analysis of temporally averaged image data. Although voxels activating at the paradigm frequency can be identified from the Fourier power spectrum, such analyses collapse the temporal information that is useful to establish consistency of responses during the paradigm. The design of a set of nonorthogonal wavelets of specified frequency resolution within the power spectrum was investigated for extracting desired frequency responses from the noisy signal intensity of individual voxels. These wavelets separate the low-frequency cognitive response to the paradigm from the respiratory and cardiac responses at higher frequencies. The retention of the temporal information, possible by wavelet analysis, allows the MR signal changes to be compared to changes in behavioral responses over the duration of an entire paradigm. The amplitude and time delay of the wavelet specified by the paradigm identify quantitatively the size of the MR signal change and the temporal delay of the hemodynamic BOLD response, respectively. This specified-resolution wavelet analysis was demonstrated for individual voxels and maps through the frontal eye fields using a visually guided saccade paradigm.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2001