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

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 in this setting. Moreover, MEG/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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