MR-compatible device for monitoring hand tracing and writing tasks in fMRI with an application to healthy subjects

Stefano Diciotti, Paolo Cecchi, Andrea Ginestroni, Lorenzo Nicola Mazzoni, Ilaria Pesaresi, Simone Lombardo, Enrico Boni, Mirco Cosottini, Andrea Soricelli, Nicola De Stefano, Mario Mascalchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Monitoring devices enable control of the correct execution of a given task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) acquisitions and analysis of behavioral features that can influence brain activation patterns. In this report, we describe and validate a low-cost device for monitoring hand tracing and writing tasks during fMRI. The subject holds a light-emitting pen whose light spot is recorded by a fixed camera aligned with the tracing plane. Pen trajectories are extracted by a blob detection algorithm through Laplacian of Gaussian filtering applied to the camera recordings. Following phantom and in vivo experiments which demonstrated MR compatibility, the device was applied to monitor the particular case of the task of continuous and self-paced writing of an "8" figure in 10 healthy subjects. They underwent fMRI examinations during the task under three conditions: spontaneous frequency and figure size, "low" frequency and "small" figure size. The task recordings were analyzed with a dedicated algorithm that computed both frequency and area of the figures "8" writing. The device was judged comfortable by all subjects. fMRI data analysis showed that task frequency influenced the activation within primary sensory motor and premotor frontal cortices, while figure size interfered with the activation in posterior parietal cortex. Both frequency and size parameters modulated activation in the inferior cerebellum. By monitoring writing-tasks executions, this device is expected to broaden the spectrum of applications of fMRI. Indeed, it could allow the investigation of patients suffering from neurological disorders affecting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalConcepts in Magnetic Resonance Part A: Bridging Education and Research
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

Keywords

  • Behavioral task monitoring
  • Blob detection
  • Functional MRI
  • Laplacian of Gaussian
  • Optoelectronic devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Spectroscopy

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    Diciotti, S., Cecchi, P., Ginestroni, A., Mazzoni, L. N., Pesaresi, I., Lombardo, S., Boni, E., Cosottini, M., Soricelli, A., De Stefano, N., & Mascalchi, M. (2010). MR-compatible device for monitoring hand tracing and writing tasks in fMRI with an application to healthy subjects. Concepts in Magnetic Resonance Part A: Bridging Education and Research, 36(3), 139-152. https://doi.org/10.1002/cmr.a.20158