Acoustic noise concerns in functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Department of Radiology, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Human Brain Mapping (Impact Factor: 6.92). 12/2003; 20(3):123-41. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.10134
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Magnetic resonance (MR) acoustic scanner noise may negatively affect the performance of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a problem that worsens at the higher field strengths proposed to enhance fMRI. We present an overview of the current knowledge on the effects of confounding acoustic MR noise in fMRI experiments. The principles and effectiveness of various methods to reduce acoustic noise in fMRI are discussed, practical considerations are addressed and recommendations are made.

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    ABSTRACT: Numerous studies on the tonotopic organisation of auditory cortex in humans have employed a wide range of neuroimaging protocols to assess cortical frequency tuning. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we made a systematic comparison between acquisition protocols with variable levels of interference from acoustic scanner noise. Using sweep stimuli to evoke travelling waves of activation, we measured sound-evoked response signals using sparse, clustered, and continuous imaging protocols that were characterised by inter-scan intervals of 8.8, 2.2, or 0.0s, respectively. With regard to sensitivity to sound-evoked activation, the sparse and clustered protocols performed similarly, and both detected more activation than the continuous method. Qualitatively, tonotopic maps in activated areas proved highly similar, in the sense that the overall pattern of tonotopic gradients was reproducible across all three protocols. However, quantitatively, we observed substantial reductions in response amplitudes to moderately low stimulus frequencies that coincided with regions of strong energy in the scanner noise spectrum for the clustered and continuous protocols compared to the sparse protocol. At the same time, extreme frequencies became over-represented for these two protocols, and high best frequencies became relatively more abundant. Our results indicate that although all three scanning protocols are suitable to determine the layout of tonotopic fields, an exact quantitative assessment of the representation of various sound frequencies is substantially confounded by the presence of scanner noise. In addition, we noticed anomalous signal dynamics in response to our travelling wave paradigm that suggest that the assessment of frequency-dependent tuning is non-trivially influenced by time-dependent (hemo)dynamics when using sweep stimuli.
    NeuroImage 07/2014; · 6.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: When conducting auditory investigations using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), there are inherent potential confounds that need to be considered. Traditional continuous fMRI acquisition methods produce sounds >90dB which compete with stimuli or produce neural activation masking evoked activity. Sparse scanning methods insert a period of reduced MRI-related noise, between image acquisitions, in which a stimulus can be presented without competition. In this study, we compared sparse and continuous scanning methods to identify the optimal approach to investigate acoustically-evoked cortical, thalamic and midbrain activity in the cat. Using a 7T magnet, we presented broadband noise, 10kHz tones, or 0.5kHz tones in a block design, interleaved with blocks in which no stimulus was presented. Continuous scanning resulted in larger clusters of activation and more peak voxels within the auditory cortex. However, no significant activation was observed within the thalamus. Also, there was no significant difference found, between continuous or sparse scanning, in activations of midbrain structures. Higher magnitude activations were identified in auditory cortex compared to the midbrain using both continuous and sparse scanning. These results indicate that continuous scanning is the preferred method for investigations of auditory cortex in the cat using fMRI. Also, choice of method for future investigations of midbrain activity should be driven by other experimental factors, such as stimulus intensity and task performance during scanning.
    Journal of neuroscience methods 01/2014; · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies involve substantial acoustic noise. This review covers the difficulties posed by such noise for auditory neuroscience, as well as a number of possible solutions that have emerged. Acoustic noise can affect the processing of auditory stimuli by making them inaudible or unintelligible, and can result in reduced sensitivity to auditory activation in auditory cortex. Equally importantly, acoustic noise may also lead to increased listening effort, meaning that even when auditory stimuli are perceived, neural processing may differ from when the same stimuli are presented in quiet. These and other challenges have motivated a number of approaches for collecting auditory fMRI data. Although using a continuous echoplanar imaging (EPI) sequence provides high quality imaging data, these data may also be contaminated by background acoustic noise. Traditional sparse imaging has the advantage of avoiding acoustic noise during stimulus presentation, but at a cost of reduced temporal resolution. Recently, three classes of techniques have been developed to circumvent these limitations. The first is Interleaved Silent Steady State (ISSS) imaging, a variation of sparse imaging that involves collecting multiple volumes following a silent period while maintaining steady-state longitudinal magnetization. The second involves active noise control to limit the impact of acoustic scanner noise. Finally, novel MRI sequences that reduce the amount of acoustic noise produced during fMRI make the use of continuous scanning a more practical option. Together these advances provide unprecedented opportunities for researchers to collect high-quality data of hemodynamic responses to auditory stimuli using fMRI.
    Frontiers in neuroscience. 01/2014; 8:253.


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