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Modified beamformers for coherent source region suppression


Many tomographic source localization algorithms used in biomagnetic imaging assume, explicitly or sometimes implicitly, that the source activity at different brain locations are either independent or that the correlation structure between sources is known. Among these algorithms is a class of adaptive spatial filters known as beamformers, which have superior spatiotemporal resolution abilities. The performance of beamformers is robust to weakly coherent sources. However, these algorithms are extremely sensitive to the presence of strongly coherent sources. A frequent mode of failure in bearnformers occurs with reconstruction of auditory evoked fields (AEFs), in which bilateral auditory cortices are highly coherent in their activation. Here, we present a novel beamformer that suppresses activation from regions with interfering coherent sources. First, a volume containing the interfering sources is defined. The lead field matrix for this volume is computed and reduced into a few significant columns using singular value decomposition (SVD). A vector beamformer is then constructed by rejecting the contribution of sources in the suppression region while allowing for source reconstruction at other specified regions. Performance of this algorithm was first validated with simulated data. Subsequent tests of this modified beamformer were performed on bilateral AEF data. An unmodified vector beamformer using whole head coverage misplaces the source medially. After defining a suppression region containing the temporal cortex on one side, the described method consistently results in clear focal activations at expected regions of the contralateral superior temporal plane.

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