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Oxygenated hemoglobin signal provides greater predictive performance of experimental condition than de-oxygenated

By Robert Luke, Maureen Shader, Eric Larson, Alexandre Gramfort, Adrian KC Lee, David McAlpine

Posted 20 Nov 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.19.469225

Continuous-wave functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) neuroimaging provides an estimate of relative changes in oxygenated and de-oxygenated hemoglobin content, from which regional neural activity is inferred. The relation between both signals is governed by neurovascular coupling mechanisms. However, the magnitude of concentration changes and the contribution of noise sources to each chromophore is unique. Subsequently, it is not apparent if either chromophore signal practically provides greater information about the underlying neural state and relation to an experimental condition. To assess this question objectively, we applied a machine-learning approach to four datasets and evaluated which hemoglobin signal best differentiated between experimental conditions. To further ensure the objective nature of the analysis, the algorithm utilized all samples from the epoched data rather than pre-selected features. Regardless of experimental task, brain region, or stimulus, the oxygenated hemoglobin signal was better able to differentiate between conditions than the de-oxygenated signal. Incorporating both signals into the analysis provided no additional improvement over oxygenated hemoglobin alone. These results indicate that oxyhemoglobin is the most informative fNIRS signal in relation to experimental condition.

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