Automated filtering of common-mode artifacts in multichannel physiological recordings

John W. Kelly, Daniel P. Siewiorek, Asim Smailagic, Wei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The removal of spatially correlated noise is an important step in processing multichannel recordings. Here, a technique termed the adaptive common average reference (ACAR) is presented as an effective and simple method for removing this noise. The ACAR is based on a combination of the well-known common average reference (CAR) and an adaptive noise canceling (ANC) filter. In a convergent process, the CAR provides a reference to an ANC filter, which in turn provides feedback to enhance the CAR. This method was effective on both simulated and real data, outperforming the standard CAR when the amplitude or polarity of the noise changes across channels. In many cases, the ACAR even outperformed independent component analysis. On 16 channels of simulated data, the ACAR was able to attenuate up to approximately 290 dB of noise and could improve signal quality if the original SNR was as high as 5 dB. With an original SNR of 0 dB, the ACAR improved signal quality with only two data channels and performance improved as the number of channels increased. It also performed well under many different conditions for the structure of the noise and signals. Analysis of contaminated electrocorticographic recordings further showed the effectiveness of the ACAR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6518174
Pages (from-to)2760-2770
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2013


  • Artifact removal
  • adaptive filtering
  • common average reference
  • multichannel recording
  • neural data
  • spatially correlated noise


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