Significance: Mayer waves are spontaneous oscillations in arterial blood pressure that can mask cortical hemodynamic responses associated with neural activity of interest. Aim: To characterize the properties of oscillations in the fNIRS signal generated by Mayer waves in a large sample of fNIRS recordings. Further, we aim to determine the impact of short-channel correction for the attenuation of these unwanted signal components. Approach: Mayer wave oscillation parameters were extracted from 310 fNIRS measurements using the Fitting Oscillations & One-Over-F (FOOOF) method to compute normative values. The effect of short-channel correction on Mayer wave oscillation power was quantified on 222 measurements. The practical benefit of the short-channel correction approach for reducing Mayer waves and improving response detection was also evaluated on a subgroup of 17 fNIRS measurements collected during a passive auditory speech detection experiment. Results: Mayer wave oscillations had a mean frequency of 0.108 Hz, bandwidth of 0.075 Hz, and power of 3.5 M2/Hz. The distribution of oscillation signal power was positively skewed, with some measurements containing large Mayer waves. Short-channel correction significantly reduced the amplitude of these undesired signals; greater attenuation was observed for measurements containing larger Mayer wave oscillations. Conclusions: A robust method for quantifying Mayer wave oscillations in the fNIRS signal spectrum was presented and used to provide normative parameterization. Short-channel correction is recommended as an approach for attenuating Mayer waves, particularly in participants with large oscillations.
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