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Magn Reson Med. 2010 Apr;63(4):1015-20. doi: 10.1002/mrm.22283.

T2-weighted 3D fMRI using S2-SSFP at 7 tesla.

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Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


In this study, the sensitivity of the S(2)-steady-state free precession (SSFP) signal for functional MRI at 7 T was investigated. In order to achieve the necessary temporal resolution, a three-dimensional acquisition scheme with acceleration along two spatial axes was employed. Activation maps based on S(2)-steady-state free precession data showed similar spatial localization of activation and sensitivity as spin-echo echo-planar imaging (SE-EPI), but data can be acquired with substantially lower power deposition. The functional sensitivity estimated by the average z-values was not significantly different for SE-EPI compared to the S(2)-signal but was slightly lower for the S(2)-signal (6.74 +/- 0.32 for the TR = 15 ms protocol and 7.51 +/- 0.78 for the TR = 27 ms protocol) compared to SE-EPI (7.49 +/- 1.44 and 8.05 +/- 1.67) using the same activated voxels, respectively. The relative signal changes in these voxels upon activation were slightly lower for SE-EPI (2.37% +/- 0.18%) compared to the TR = 15 ms S(2)-SSFP protocol (2.75% +/- 0.53%) and significantly lower than the TR = 27 ms protocol (5.38% +/- 1.28%), in line with simulations results. The large relative signal change for the long TR SSFP protocol can be explained by contributions from multiple coherence pathways and the low intrinsic intensity of the S(2) signal. In conclusion, whole-brain T(2)-weighted functional MRI with negligible image distortion at 7 T is feasible using the S(2)-SSFP sequence and partially parallel imaging.

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