ICA analysis of fMRI with real-time constraints: An evaluation of fast detection performance as function of algorithms, parameters and a priori conditions

Nicola Soldati, Vince Daniel Calhoun, Lorenzo Bruzzone, Jorge Jovicich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Independent Component Analysis (ICA) techniques offer a data-driven possibility to analyse brain functional MRI data in real-time. Typical ICA methods used in fMRI, however, have been until now mostly developed and optimized for the off-line case in which all data is available. Real-time experiments are ill-posed for ICA in that several constraints are added: limited data, limited analysis time and dynamic changes in the data and computational speed. Previous studies have shown that particular choices of ICA parameters can be used to monitor real-time fMRI brain activation, but it is unknown how other choices would perform. In this real-time fMRI simulation study we investigate and compare the performance of 14 different publicly available ICA algorithms systematically sampling different growing window lengths, model order as well as a priori conditions (none, spatial or temporal). Performance is evaluated by computing the spatial and temporal correlation to a target component as well as computation time. Four algorithms are identified as best performing (constrained ICA, fastICA, amuse and evd), with their corresponding parameter choices. Both spatial and temporal priors are found to provide equal or improved performances in similarity to the target compared with their off-line counterpart, with greatly reduced computation costs. This study suggests parameter choices that can be further investigated in a sliding-window approach for a real-time fMRI experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberJAN
Publication statusPublished - Jan 16 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Ill-posed problems
  • Independent component analysis
  • Real-time
  • Whole-brain fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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