Bayesian Rician Regression for Neuroimaging.

Research paper by Bertil B Wegmann, Anders A Eklund, Mattias M Villani

Indexed on: 07 Nov '17Published on: 07 Nov '17Published in: Frontiers in neuroscience


It is well-known that data from diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) follow the Rician distribution. The Rician distribution is also relevant for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data obtained at high temporal or spatial resolution. We propose a general regression model for non-central χ (NC-χ) distributed data, with the heteroscedastic Rician regression model as a prominent special case. The model allows both parameters in the Rician distribution to be linked to explanatory variables, with the relevant variables chosen by Bayesian variable selection. A highly efficient Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm is proposed to capture full model uncertainty by simulating from the joint posterior distribution of all model parameters and the binary variable selection indicators. Simulated regression data is used to demonstrate that the Rician model is able to detect the signal much more accurately than the traditionally used Gaussian model at low signal-to-noise ratios. Using a diffusion dataset from the Human Connectome Project, it is also shown that the commonly used approximate Gaussian noise model underestimates the mean diffusivity (MD) and the fractional anisotropy (FA) in the single-diffusion tensor model compared to the Rician model.