A programmable laboratory testbed in support of evaluation of functional brain activation and connectivity

R.L. Barbour et al. (2012)

Summary

An important determinant of the value of quantitative neuroimaging studies is the reliability of the derived information, which is a function of the data collection conditions. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and electroencelphalography are independent sensing domains that are well suited to explore principal elements of the brainís response to neuroactivation, and whose integration supports development of compact, even wearable, systems suitable for use in open environments.

In an effort to maximize the translatability and utility of such resources, we have established an experimental laboratory Testbed that supports measures and analysis of simulated macroscopic bioelectric and hemodynamic responses of the brain.

Principal elements of the Testbed include: i) A programmable anthropomorphic head phantom containing a multisignal source array embedded within a matrix that approximates the background optical and bioelectric properties of the brain; ii) integrated translatable headgear that support multimodal studies and iii) an integrated data analysis environment that supports anatomically based mapping of experiment-derived measures that are directly and not directly observable.

Here we present a description of system components and fabrication, an overview of the analysis environment, and findings from a representative study that document the ability to experimentally validate effective connectivity models based on NIRS tomography.

Keywords: Dynamic causal modeling, Electroencepaholography, Effective Connectivity, Near Infrared Tomography, Programmable Head Phantom.