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Title: High spatial resolution brain functional MRI using submillimeter balanced steady-state free precession acquisition

Purpose: One of the technical advantages of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is its precise localization of changes from neuronal activities. While current practice of fMRI acquisition at voxel size around 3 × 3 × 3 mm{sup 3} achieves satisfactory results in studies of basic brain functions, higher spatial resolution is required in order to resolve finer cortical structures. This study investigated spatial resolution effects on brain fMRI experiments using balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) imaging with 0.37 mm{sup 3} voxel volume at 3.0 T. Methods: In fMRI experiments, full and unilateral visual field 5 Hz flashing checkerboard stimulations were given to healthy subjects. The bSSFP imaging experiments were performed at three different frequency offsets to widen the coverage, with functional activations in the primary visual cortex analyzed using the general linear model. Variations of the spatial resolution were achieved by removing outerk-space data components. Results: Results show that a reduction in voxel volume from 3.44 × 3.44 × 2 mm{sup 3} to 0.43 × 0.43 × 2 mm{sup 3} has resulted in an increase of the functional activation signals from (7.7 ± 1.7)% to (20.9 ± 2.0)% at 3.0 T, despite of the threefold SNR decreases in the originalmore » images, leading to nearly invariant functional contrast-to-noise ratios (fCNR) even at high spatial resolution. Activation signals aligning nicely with gray matter sulci at high spatial resolution would, on the other hand, have possibly been mistaken as noise at low spatial resolution. Conclusions: It is concluded that the bSSFP sequence is a plausible technique for fMRI investigations at submillimeter voxel widths without compromising fCNR. The reduction of partial volume averaging with nonactivated brain tissues to retain fCNR is uniquely suitable for high spatial resolution applications such as the resolving of columnar organization in the brain.« less
;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. Department of Electrical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10617, Taiwan (China)
  2. Imaging Research Center, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 11031, Taiwan and Department of Medical Imaging, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 11031, Taiwan (China)
  3. Institute of Medical Informatics, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan and Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, National Cheng-Kung University, Tainan 70101, Taiwan (China)
  4. Department of Electrical Engineering, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan (China)
  5. Siemens Limited Healthcare Sector, Taipei 11503, Taiwan (China)
  6. Department of Electrical Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei 10607, Taiwan (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 40; Journal Issue: 12; Other Information: (c) 2013 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States