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fNIRS response during walking — Artefact or cortical activity? A systematic review

Lookup NU author(s): Rodrigo Vitorio, Dr Sam Stuart, Professor Lynn RochesterORCiD, Dr Lisa AlcockORCiD, Dr Annette PantallORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This systematic review aims to (i) evaluate functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) walking study design inyoung adults, older adults and people with Parkinson’s disease (PD); (ii) examine signal processing techniques toreduce artefacts and physiological noise in fNIRS data; and (iii) provide evidence-based recommendations forfNIRS walking study design and signal analysis techniques. An electronic search was undertaken. The searchrequest detailed the measurement technique, cohort and walking task. Thirty-one of an initial yield of 73 studiessatisfied the criteria. Protocols and methods for removing artefacts and noise varied. Differences in fNIRS signalsbetween studies were found in rest vs. walking, speed of walking, usual vs. complex walking and easy vs. difficulttasks. In conclusion, there are considerable technical and methodological challenges in conducting fNIRS studiesduring walking which can introduce inconsistencies in study findings. We provide recommendations for theconstruction of robust methodologies and suggest signal processing techniques implementing a theoreticalframework accounting for the physiology of haemodynamic responses.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Vitorio R, Stuart S, Rochester L, Alcock L, Pantall A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews

Year: 2017

Volume: 83

Pages: 160-172

Print publication date: 18/10/2017

Online publication date: 07/10/2017

Acceptance date: 02/10/2017

Date deposited: 19/10/2017

ISSN (print): 0149-7634

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7528

Publisher: Elselvier B.V.


DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.10.002


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Funder referenceFunder name
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Newcastle 528 Biomedical Research Unit (BRU)