Online Reduction of Artifacts in EEG of Simultaneous EEG-fMRI Using Reference Layer Adaptive Filtering (RLAF)

David Steyrl, Gunther Krausz, Karl Koschutnig, Günter Edlinger, Gernot R Müller-Putz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allow us to study the active human brain from two perspectives concurrently. Signal processing based artifact reduction techniques are mandatory for this, however, to obtain reasonable EEG quality in simultaneous EEG-fMRI. Current artifact reduction techniques like average artifact subtraction (AAS), typically become less effective when artifact reduction has to be performed on-the-fly. We thus present and evaluate a new technique to improve EEG quality online. This technique adds up with online AAS and combines a prototype EEG-cap for reference recordings of artifacts, with online adaptive filtering and is named reference layer adaptive filtering (RLAF). We found online AAS + RLAF to be highly effective in improving EEG quality. Online AAS + RLAF outperformed online AAS and did so in particular online in terms of the chosen performance metrics, these being specifically alpha rhythm amplitude ratio between closed and opened eyes (3-45% improvement), signal-to-noise-ratio of visual evoked potentials (VEP) (25-63% improvement), and VEPs variability (16-44% improvement). Further, we found that EEG quality after online AAS + RLAF is occasionally even comparable with the offline variant of AAS at a 3T MRI scanner. In conclusion RLAF is a very effective add-on tool to enable high quality EEG in simultaneous EEG-fMRI experiments, even when online artifact reduction is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129–149
JournalBrain Topography
Early online date9 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Journal Article

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology


  • BioTechMed-Graz


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