Despite significant improvements in neuroimaging technologies and analysis methods, the fundamental relationship between local changes in cerebral hemodynamics and the underlying neural activity remains largely unknown. In this study, a data driven approach is proposed for modeling this neurovascular coupling relationship from simultaneously acquired electroencephalographic (EEG) and near-infrared spectroscopic (NIRS) data. The approach uses gamma transfer functions to map EEG spectral envelopes that reflect time-varying power variations in neural rhythms to hemodynamics measured with NIRS during median nerve stimulation. The approach is evaluated first with simulated EEG-NIRS data and then by applying the method to experimental EEG-NIRS data measured from 3 human subjects. Results from the experimental data indicate that the neurovascular coupling relationship can be modeled using multiple sets of gamma transfer functions. By applying cluster analysis, statistically significant parameter sets were found to predict NIRS hemodynamics from EEG spectral envelopes. All subjects were found to have significant clustered parameters ( P < 0.05 ) for EEG-NIRS data fitted using gamma transfer functions. These results suggest that the use of gamma transfer functions followed by cluster analysis of the resulting parameter sets may provide insights into neurovascular coupling in human neuroimaging data.
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