Georg Langs, Yanmei Tie, Laura Rigolo, Alexandra Golby, Polina Golland
Matching functional brain regions across individuals is a challenging task, largely due to the variability in their location and extent. It is particularly difficult, but highly relevant, for patients with pathologies such as brain tumors, which can cause substantial reorganization of functional systems. In such cases spatial registration based on anatomical data is only of limited value if the goal is to establish correspondences of functional areas among different individuals, or to localize potentially displaced active regions. Rather than rely on spatial alignment, we propose to perform registration in an alternative space whose geometry is governed by the functional interaction patterns in the brain. We first embed each brain into a functional map that reflects connectivity patterns during a fMRI experiment. The resulting functional maps are then registered, and the obtained correspondences are propagated back to the two brains. In application to a language fMRI experiment, our preliminary results suggest that the proposed method yields improved functional correspondences across subjects. This advantage is pronounced for subjects with tumors that affect the language areas and thus cause spatial reorganization of the functional regions.