Comparing features for classification of MEG responses to motor imagery

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Background Motor imagery (MI) with real-time neurofeedback could be a viable approach, e.g., in rehabilitation of cerebral stroke. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) noninvasively measures electric brain activity at high temporal resolution and is well-suited for recording oscillatory brain signals. MI is known to modulate 10- and 20-Hz oscillations in the somatomotor system. In order to provide accurate feedback to the subject, the most relevant MI-related features should be extracted from MEG data. In this study, we evaluated several MEG signal features for discriminating between left- and right-hand MI and between MI and rest. Methods MEG was measured from nine healthy participants imagining either left- or right-hand finger tapping according to visual cues. Data preprocessing, feature extraction and classification were performed offline. The evaluated MI-related features were power spectral density (PSD), Morlet wavelets, short-time Fourier transform (STFT), common spatial patterns (CSP), filter-bank common spatial patterns (FBCSP), spatio-spectral decomposition (SSD), and combined SSD+CSP, CSP+PSD, CSP+Morlet, and CSP+STFT. We also compared four classifiers applied to single trials using 5-fold cross-validation for evaluating the classification accuracy and its possible dependence on the classification algorithm. In addition, we estimated the inter-session left-vs-right accuracy for each subject. Results The SSD+CSP combination yielded the best accuracy in both left-vs-right (mean 73.7%) and MI-vs-rest (mean 81.3%) classification. CSP+Morlet yielded the best mean accuracy in inter-session left-vs-right classification (mean 69.1%). There were large inter-subject differences in classification accuracy, and the level of the 20-Hz suppression correlated significantly with the subjective MI-vs-rest accuracy. Selection of the classification algorithm had only a minor effect on the results. Conclusions We obtained good accuracy in sensor-level decoding of MI from single-trial MEG data. Feature extraction methods utilizing both the spatial and spectral profile of MI-related signals provided the best classification results, suggesting good performance of these methods in an online MEG neurofeedback system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0168766
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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