Alternative Thresholding Methods for FMRI Data Optimized for Surgical Planning


Current methods for thresholding functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) maps are based on the well-known hypothesis-test framework, optimal for addressing novel theoretical claims. However, these methods as typically practiced have a strong bias toward protecting the null hypothesis, and thus may not provide an optimal balance between specificity and sensitivity in forming activation maps for surgical planning. Maps based on hypothesis-test thresholds are also highly sensitive to sample size and signal-to-noise ratio, whereas many clinical applications require methods that are robust to these effects. We propose a new thresholding method, optimized for surgical planning, based on normalized amplitude thresholding. We show that this method produces activation maps that are more reproducible and more predictive of postoperative cognitive outcome than maps produced with current standard thresholding methods.

Gross, W. L., & Binder, J. R. (2014). Alternative thresholding methods for fMRI data optimized for surgical planning. NeuroImage, 84C, 554–561. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.08.066