5 years ago

Weighted averaging in spectroscopic studies improves statistical power

Lowri Cochlin, Damian J. Tyler, Jack J. Miller, Kieran Clarke
Purpose In vivo MRS is often characterized by a spectral signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) that varies highly between experiments. A common design for spectroscopic studies is to compare the ratio of two spectral peak amplitudes between groups, e.g. individual PCr/γ-ATP ratios in 31P-MRS. The uncertainty on this ratio is often neglected. We wished to explore this assumption. Theory The canonical theory for the propagation of uncertainty on the ratio of two spectral peaks and its incorporation in the Frequentist hypothesis testing framework by weighted averaging is presented. Methods Two retrospective re-analyses of studies comparing spectral peak ratios and one prospective simulation were performed using both the weighted and unweighted methods. Results It was found that propagating uncertainty correctly improved statistical power in all cases considered, which could be used to reduce the number of subjects required to perform an MR study. Conclusion The variability of in vivo spectroscopy data is often accounted for by requiring it to meet an SNR threshold. A theoretically sound propagation of the variable uncertainty caused by quantifying spectra of differing SNR is therefore likely to improve the power of in vivo spectroscopy studies. Magn Reson Med 78:2082–2094, 2017. © 2017 The Authors Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/mrm.26615

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