Segmented spin-echo pulses to increase fMRI signal: repeated intrinsic diffusional enhancement.
Since its inception, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has seen rapid progress in the application to neuroscience. Common gradient-recalled acquisition methods are susceptible to static field inhomogeneities, resulting in signal loss at the medial temporal area important for memory function or at the basal ganglia area for motor control. In addition, they are susceptible to the contaminating signals of large vein origin, such as the signals from its surrounding cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leading to false-positive activation. Spin echoes overcome these drawbacks. However, they are less sensitive to blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) susceptibility changes because of their refocusing mechanism. A method is presented here to enhance the spin-echo fMRI signal by recruiting more spins to participate in the dynamic BOLD process. This method divided a conventional T(2) weighting period into several segments separated by blocks of extra free diffusion time. Before the extra diffusion time spins are restored to the longitudinal axis preventing rapid transverse relaxation. This process allows more spin access to the regions that experience the BOLD field gradient. Because of the increased spin population that is modulated by the capillary BOLD field gradient, the functional signal is increased. Spin-echo echo-planar imaging (EPI) with this enhancement may be a useful technique for fMRI studies at inhomogeneous areas such as the air/tissue interface. Magn Reson Med 42:631-635, 1999.
Song, AW; Mao, H; Muthupillai, R; Haist, F; Dixon, WT
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