Multivariate semi-blind deconvolution of fMRI time series

Hamza Cherkaoui, Thomas Moreau, Abderrahim Halimi, Claire Leroy, Philippe Ciuciu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Whole brain estimation of the haemodynamic response function (HRF) in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is critical to get insight on the global status of the neurovascular coupling of an individual in healthy or pathological condition. Most of existing approaches in the literature works on task-fMRI data and relies on the experimental paradigm as a surrogate of neural activity, hence remaining inoperative on resting-stage fMRI (rs-fMRI) data. To cope with this issue, recent works have performed either a two-step analysis to detect large neural events and then characterize the HRF shape or a joint estimation of both the neural and haemodynamic components in an univariate fashion. In this work, we express the neural activity signals as a combination of piece-wise constant temporal atoms associated with sparse spatial maps and introduce an haemodynamic parcellation of the brain featuring a temporally dilated version of a given HRF model in each parcel with unknown dilation parameters. We formulate the joint estimation of the HRF shapes and spatio-temporal neural representations as a multivariate semi-blind deconvolution problem in a paradigm-free setting and introduce constraints inspired from the dictionary learning literature to ease its identifiability. A fast alternating minimization algorithm, along with its efficient implementation, is proposed and validated on both synthetic and real rs-fMRI data at the subject level. To demonstrate its significance at the population level, we apply this new framework to the UK Biobank data set, first for the discrimination of haemodynamic territories between balanced groups (n=24 individuals in each) patients with an history of stroke and healthy controls and second, for the analysis of normal aging on the neurovascular coupling. Overall, we statistically demonstrate that a pathology like stroke or a condition like normal brain aging induce longer haemodynamic delays in certain brain areas (e.g. Willis polygon, occipital, temporal and frontal cortices) and that this haemodynamic feature may be predictive with an accuracy of 74 % of the individual's age in a supervised classification task performed on n=459 subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118418
Early online date22 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • BOLD signal
  • Dictionary learning
  • HRF
  • Low-rank decomposition
  • Multivariate modeling
  • Sparsity
  • UK Biobank

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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