Multichannel near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), including 52-channel NIRS (52ch-NIRS), has been used increasingly to capture hemodynamic changes in the brain because of its safety, low cost, portability, and high temporal resolution. However, optode caps might cause pain and motion artifacts if worn for extended periods of time because of the weight of the cables and the pressure of the optodes on the scalp. Recently, a small NIRS apparatus called compact NIRS (cNIRS) has been developed, and uses only a few flexible sensors. Because this device is expected to be more suitable than 52ch-NIRS in the clinical practice for patients with children or psychiatric conditions, we tested whether the two systems were clinically comparable. Specifically, we evaluated the correlation between patterns of hemodynamic changes generated by 52ch-NIRS and cNIRS in the frontopolar region. We scanned 14 healthy adults with 52ch-NIRS and cNIRS, and measured activation patterns of oxygenated-hemoglobin [oxy-Hb] and deoxygenated-hemoglobin [deoxy-Hb] in the frontal pole while they performed a verbal fluency task. We performed detailed temporal domain comparisons of time-course patterns between the two NIRS-based signals. We found that 52ch-NIRS and cNIRS showed significant correlations in [oxy-Hb] and [deoxy-Hb] time-course changes in numerous channels. Our findings indicate that cNIRS and 52ch-NIRS capture similar task-dependent hemodynamic changes due to metabolic demand, which supports the validity of cNIRS measurement techniques. Therefore, this small device has a strong potential for clinical application with infants and children, as well as for use in the rehabilitation or treatment of patients with psychiatric disorders using biofeedback.
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