Statistical control for spatio-temporal MEG/EEG source imaging with desparsified multi-task Lasso

29 Sep 2020  ·  Jérôme-Alexis Chevalier, Alexandre Gramfort, Joseph Salmon, Bertrand Thirion ·

Detecting where and when brain regions activate in a cognitive task or in a given clinical condition is the promise of non-invasive techniques like magnetoencephalography (MEG) or electroencephalography (EEG). This problem, referred to as source localization, or source imaging, poses however a high-dimensional statistical inference challenge. While sparsity promoting regularizations have been proposed to address the regression problem, it remains unclear how to ensure statistical control of false detections. Moreover, M/EEG source imaging requires to work with spatio-temporal data and autocorrelated noise. To deal with this, we adapt the desparsified Lasso estimator -- an estimator tailored for high dimensional linear model that asymptotically follows a Gaussian distribution under sparsity and moderate feature correlation assumptions -- to temporal data corrupted with autocorrelated noise. We call it the desparsified multi-task Lasso (d-MTLasso). We combine d-MTLasso with spatially constrained clustering to reduce data dimension and with ensembling to mitigate the arbitrary choice of clustering; the resulting estimator is called ensemble of clustered desparsified multi-task Lasso (ecd-MTLasso). With respect to the current procedures, the two advantages of ecd-MTLasso are that i)it offers statistical guarantees and ii)it allows to trade spatial specificity for sensitivity, leading to a powerful adaptive method. Extensive simulations on realistic head geometries, as well as empirical results on various MEG datasets, demonstrate the high recovery performance of ecd-MTLasso and its primary practical benefit: offer a statistically principled way to threshold MEG/EEG source maps.

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