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Magn Reson Med. 1999 Jul;42(1):87-97.

Enhancement of BOLD-contrast sensitivity by single-shot multi-echo functional MR imaging.

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Institute of Medicine, Research Center J├╝lich GmbH, Germany.


Improved data acquisition and processing strategies for blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD)-contrast functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which enhance the functional contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) by sampling multiple echo times in a single shot, are described. The dependence of the CNR on T2*, the image encoding time, and the number of sampled echo times are investigated for exponential fitting, echo summation, weighted echo summation, and averaging of correlation maps obtained at different echo times. The method is validated in vivo using visual stimulation and turbo proton echoplanar spectroscopic imaging (turbo-PEPSI), a new single-shot multi-slice MR spectroscopic imaging technique, which acquires up to 12 consecutive echoplanar images with echo times ranging from 12 to 213 msec. Quantitative T2*-mapping significantly increases the measured extent of activation and the mean correlation coefficient compared with conventional echoplanar imaging. The sensitivity gain with echo summation, which is computationally efficient provides similar sensitivity as fitting. For all data processing methods sensitivity is optimum when echo times up to 3.2 T2* are sampled. This methodology has implications for comparing functional sensitivity at different magnetic field strengths and between brain regions with different magnetic field inhomogeneities.

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