Modified MRI anonymization (de-facing) for improved MEG coregistration


Localising the sources of MEG/EEG signals often requires a structural MRI to create a head model, while ensuring reproducible scientific results requires sharing data and code. However, sharing of structural MRI data often requires removal of the face to help protect the identity of the individuals concerned. While automated de-facing methods exist, they tend to remove the whole face, which can impair methods for coregistering the MRI data with the EEG/MEG data. We show that a new, automated de-facing method that retains the nose maintains good MRI-MEG/EEG coregistration. Importantly, behavioural data show that this “face-trimming” method does not increase levels of identification relative to a standard de-facing approach, and has less effect on the automated segmentation and surface extraction sometimes used to create head models for MEG/EEG localisation. We suggest that this trimming approach could be employed for future sharing of structural MRI data, at least for those to be used in forward modelling (source reconstruction) of EEG/MEG data.