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Magn Reson Med. 2005 Dec;54(6):1465-72.

Quantifying the spatial resolution of the gradient echo and spin echo BOLD response at 3 Tesla.

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F. C. Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


The blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response, as measured with fMRI, offers good spatial resolution compared to other non-invasive neuroimaging methods. The use of a spin echo technique rather than the conventional gradient echo technique may further improve the resolution by refocusing static dephasing effects around the larger vessels, so sensitizing the signal to the microvasculature. In this work the width of the point spread function (PSF) of the BOLD response at a field strength of 3 Tesla is compared for these two approaches. A double echo EPI pulse sequence with simultaneous collection of gradient echo and spin echo signal allows a direct comparison of the techniques. Rotating multiple-wedge stimuli of different spatial frequencies are used to estimate the width of the BOLD response. Waves of activation are created on the surface of the visual cortex, which begin to overlap as the wedge separation decreases. The modulation of the BOLD response decreases with increasing spatial frequency in a manner dependent on its width. The spin echo response shows a 13% reduction in the width of the PSF, but at a cost of at least 3-fold reduction in contrast to noise ratio.

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