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Functional interferometric diffusing wave spectroscopy of the human brain


Cerebral blood flow (CBF) is essential for brain function, and CBF-related signals can inform us about brain activity. Yet currently, high-end medical instrumentation is needed to perform a CBF measurement in adult humans. Here, we describe functional interferometric diffusing wave spectroscopy (fiDWS), which introduces and collects near-infrared light via the scalp, using inexpensive detector arrays to rapidly monitor coherent light fluctuations that encode brain blood flow index (BFI), a surrogate for CBF. Compared to other functional optical approaches, fiDWS measures BFI faster and deeper while also providing continuous wave absorption signals. Achieving clear pulsatile BFI waveforms at source-collector separations of 3.5 cm, we confirm that optical BFI, not absorption, shows a graded hypercapnic response consistent with human cerebrovascular physiology, and that BFI has a better contrast-to-noise ratio than absorption during brain activation. By providing high-throughput measurements of optical BFI at low cost, fiDWS will expand access to CBF.

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