Designing and Implementing a Portable Near-Infrared Imaging System for Monitoring of Human’s Functional Brain Activity

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Rakhshani Fatmehsari, Younes
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Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive technique for monitoring of brain functional activity. It uses near-infrared (NIR) light to get the information related to brain hemodynamic response as most of the tissues in the brain are transparent to NIR light. The main goal of this study was to design, implement and evaluate a continuous-wave near-infrared spectroscopy (CW-NIRS) system for human’s brain cognitive functions. This system is portable, and works with a small rechargeable battery; thus, it may be used for bedside monitoring. In our CW-NIRS system, we used 3 multi-wavelength LEDs and 8 photodiodes (with built-in amplifiers) resulting in 12 channels (voxels). The collected signals of these 12 channels, at a sampling rate of 15 Hz, can be used for 2D image reconstruction to monitor functional brain activity. All LEDs and photodiodes are placed on a flexible printed circuit board (PCB), which covers the forehead to measure hemodynamic response of the prefrontal cortex. We also developed a software in MATLAB for analysis of optical signals recorded by our CW-NIRS system. This software provides 2D image reconstruction and monitoring of changes in concentration of oxygenated ([HbO2]) and deoxygenated ([HbR]) hemoglobin as well as the total hemoglobin ([HbT]) for the 12 channels over the prefrontal cortex (forehead). The software has also an embedded statistical analysis option for analyzing the collected signals and displaying the results. The developed CW-NIRS system was evaluated on 14 individuals (24±3 years old) on two common cognitive tasks: verbal fluency task (VFT) and color distinction task (CDT). In both tests, we observed that as the cognitive task begins [HbO2] and [HbT] increase and [HbR] decreases, after a few seconds delay. Furthermore, at the end of the tasks as subjects close their eyes in the second rest state, all three hemodynamic signals converge toward baseline ([HbO2] and [HbT] decrease and [HbR] increases). Also, the difference between hemodynamic signals at the rest state and task state was highly significant (p < 9.95e-11) in all 12 channels and in both cognitive tasks. The results confirm the ability of the designed CW-NIRS system to detect functional brain activities.
Near-infrared spectroscopy, Brain imaging