Removing motion and physiological artifacts from intrinsic BOLD fluctuations using short echo data

Molly G. Bright*, Kevin Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Differing noise variance across study populations has been shown to cause artifactual group differences in functional connectivity measures. In this study, we investigate the use of short echo time functional MRI data to correct for these noise sources in blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD)-weighted time series. A dual-echo sequence was used to simultaneously acquire data at both a short (TE=3.3ms) and a BOLD-weighted (TE=35ms) echo time. This approach is effectively "free," using dead-time in the pulse sequence to collect an additional echo without affecting overall scan time or temporal resolution. The proposed correction method uses voxelwise regression of the short TE data from the BOLD-weighted data to remove noise variance. In addition to a typical resting state scan, non-compliant behavior associated with patient groups was simulated via increased head motion or physiological fluctuations in 10 subjects. Short TE data showed significant correlations with the traditional motion-related and physiological noise regressors used in current connectivity analyses. Following traditional preprocessing, the extent of significant additional variance explained by the short TE data regressors was significantly correlated with the average head motion across the scan in the resting data (r2=0.93, p<0.0001). The reduction in data variance following the inclusion of short TE regressors was also correlated with scan head motion (r2=0.48, p=0.027). Task-related data were used to demonstrate the effects of the short TE correction on BOLD activation time series with known temporal structure; the size and strength of the activation were significantly decreased, but it is not clear whether this reflects BOLD contamination in the short TE data or correlated changes in blood volume. Finally, functional connectivity maps of the default mode network were constructed using a seed correlation approach. The effects of short TE correction and low-pass filtering on the resulting correlations maps were compared. Results suggest that short TE correction more accurately differentiates artifactual correlations from the correlations of interest in conditions of amplified noise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-537
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Connectivity
  • FMRI
  • Intrinsic fluctuations
  • Motion
  • Noise correction
  • Resting state
  • Short echo time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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