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Advances in Artificial Neural Systems
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 190359, 12 pages
Research Article

Activation Detection on fMRI Time Series Using Hidden Markov Model

1AT&T Labs, Florham Park, NJ 07932, USA
2Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA

Received 16 March 2012; Revised 23 June 2012; Accepted 23 June 2012

Academic Editor: Anke Meyer-Baese

Copyright © 2012 Rong Duan and Hong Man. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper introduces two unsupervised learning methods for analyzing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data based on hidden Markov model (HMM). HMM approach is focused on capturing the first-order statistical evolution among the samples of a voxel time series, and it can provide a complimentary perspective of the BOLD signals. Two-state HMM is created for each voxel, and the model parameters are estimated from the voxel time series and the stimulus paradigm. Two different activation detection methods are presented in this paper. The first method is based on the likelihood and likelihood-ratio test, in which an additional Gaussian model is used to enhance the contrast of the HMM likelihood map. The second method is based on certain distance measures between the two state distributions, in which the most likely HMM state sequence is estimated through the Viterbi algorithm. The distance between the on-state and off-state distributions is measured either through a t-test, or using the Kullback-Leibler distance (KLD). Experimental results on both normal subject and brain tumor subject are presented. HMM approach appears to be more robust in detecting the supplemental active voxels comparing with SPM, especially for brain tumor subject.