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Magn Reson Med. 2007 Jul;58(1):185-9.

Investigation of human cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord motion: implications for imaging spinal cord structure and function.

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Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Spinal cord (SC) motion is thought to be the dominant source of error in current diffusion and spinal functional MRI (fMRI) methods. However, until now, such motion has not been well characterized in three dimensions. While previous studies have predominantly examined motion in the superior/inferior (S/I) direction, the foci of the present study were the anterior/posterior (A/P) and right/left (R/L) components of human cervical and upper thoracic SC motion. Cardiac-gated, turbofast low-angle shot (turbo-FLASH) cinematic MRI was employed at 3T to acquire images of the cord at 24 phases throughout the cardiac cycle. Time-dependent signal fluctuations within voxels adjacent to the cord/cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) interface were then used to measure SC motion, which was found to occur predictably as a function of cardiac activity. Cord movement was largest in the A/P direction, for which principal components of motion were calculated, thereby indicating consistent patterns of SC oscillation that can potentially be used to improve SC imaging.

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