Correlation between subcutaneous adipose tissue of the head and body mass index: Implications for functional neuroimaging

Stacey L. Gorniak, Hao Meng, Luca Pollonini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


High body mass index (BMI) is generally assumed to represent overall amounts of body adipose tissue (fat). Increased adipose tissue amounts in persons with increased BMI has been cited as a barrier to assessment of body tissues such as muscle. Significant increases in the amount of adipose tissue between the dermal layer and the skull may result in high electrical impedance and/or increased light diffusion causing a lower signal to noise ratio during use of neuroimaging tools such as electroencepholography (EEG), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Investigating how subcutaneous adipose tissue in the head region increases with respect to total body fat percentage and BMI is an important step in developing mathematical corrections in neuroimaging measurements as BMI increases, as recommended in other measurement modalities such as electromyography (EMG). We hypothesized that percentage of subcutaneous adipose tissue in the head region would increase with respect to both total body fat percentage and BMI. A statistically significant increase in subcutaneous head fat percentage occurred with increased BMI and total body fat percentage. The data investigated in this study indicate that participant age, sex, and BMI are important features to consider in model corrections during data signal processing and analyses for subcutaneous head fat in neuroimaging approaches. The data in this project serve to provide physiological justification for this practice along with regression analyses to be considered for physiologically-based signal to noise correction algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102997
JournalHuman Movement Science
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Aging
  • Body fat
  • EEG
  • Head fat
  • Sex differences
  • fNIRS
  • tDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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