Enhancement of temporal resolution and BOLD sensitivity in real-time fMRI using multi-slab echo-volumar imaging. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this study, a new approach to high-speed fMRI using multi-slab echo-volumar imaging (EVI) is developed that minimizes geometrical image distortion and spatial blurring, and enables nonaliased sampling of physiological signal fluctuation to increase BOLD sensitivity compared to conventional echo-planar imaging (EPI). Real-time fMRI using whole brain 4-slab EVI with 286 ms temporal resolution (4mm isotropic voxel size) and partial brain 2-slab EVI with 136 ms temporal resolution (4×4×6 mm(3) voxel size) was performed on a clinical 3 Tesla MRI scanner equipped with 12-channel head coil. Four-slab EVI of visual and motor tasks significantly increased mean (visual: 96%, motor: 66%) and maximum t-score (visual: 263%, motor: 124%) and mean (visual: 59%, motor: 131%) and maximum (visual: 29%, motor: 67%) BOLD signal amplitude compared with EPI. Time domain moving average filtering (2s width) to suppress physiological noise from cardiac and respiratory fluctuations further improved mean (visual: 196%, motor: 140%) and maximum (visual: 384%, motor: 200%) t-scores and increased extents of activation (visual: 73%, motor: 70%) compared to EPI. Similar sensitivity enhancement, which is attributed to high sampling rate at only moderately reduced temporal signal-to-noise ratio (mean: -52%) and longer sampling of the BOLD effect in the echo-time domain compared to EPI, was measured in auditory cortex. Two-slab EVI further improved temporal resolution for measuring task-related activation and enabled mapping of five major resting state networks (RSNs) in individual subjects in 5 min scans. The bilateral sensorimotor, the default mode and the occipital RSNs were detectable in time frames as short as 75 s. In conclusion, the high sampling rate of real-time multi-slab EVI significantly improves sensitivity for studying the temporal dynamics of hemodynamic responses and for characterizing functional networks at high field strength in short measurement times.Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2012