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Assessment and quantification of head motion in neuropsychiatric functional imaging research as applied to schizophrenia

  • ANDREW R. MAYER (a1) (a2), ALEXANDRE R. FRANCO (a1) (a3), JOSEF LING (a1) and JOSE M. CAÑIVE (a4)


Differing degrees of head motion have long been recognized as a potential confound in functional neuroimaging studies comparing neuropsychiatric populations to healthy normal volunteers, and studies often cite excessive head motion as a possible reason for the different patterns of functional activation frequently observed between groups. We empirically tested the degree of head motion in 16 patients with chronic schizophrenia and 16, age- and education-matched controls during the acquisition of functional magnetic resonance imaging data. We examined the degree of motion across three different indices (total motion, relative motion, task-correlated motion) during a complex attentional task and the effect of entering the motion parameters as additional regressors in a general linear model analysis. Results indicate that individuals with schizophrenia did not exhibit more task-correlated or total motion compared with controls. Moreover, the residual error term from the general linear model analysis was similar for both groups of subjects. In conclusion, current results suggest that stable patients with schizophrenia are capable of controlling head motion compared with matched normal controls. However, a direct comparison of the motion parameters is an essential step for any quality assurance protocol to determine whether additional corrective techniques need to be implemented. (JINS, 2007, 13, 839–845.)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Andrew Mayer, Ph.D., The MIND Institute, Pete & Nancy Domenici Hall, 1101 Yale Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87131, USA. E-mail:


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