Hadamard-encoded sub-slice fMRI for reduced signal dropout

Department of Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5488, USA.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Impact Factor: 2.09). 09/2011; 30(1):1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.mri.2011.07.019
Source: PubMed


T2*-weighted blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging is adversely affected by susceptibility-induced field gradients in brain regions adjoining air interfaces that cause image distortion and signal dropout. Reducing slice thickness diminishes signal dropout but is accompanied by reduced signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). This study proposes simultaneous excitation of subslices with total width equal to the desired slice thickness, employing alternating Hadamard-encoded radiofrequency pulses coupled with incoherent addition of the subslices to achieve reduction of through-plane dephasing with minimal SNR loss but at the expense of a reduction in temporal resolution. Using a sensory task and hypercapnic challenge with breathholding (BH), results with two subslices per slice and a twofold reduction in temporal resolution show improved activation relative to a conventional acquisition. Average (eight subjects) T-scores in the BH task increased by 16% (P<.0003), and activation extent increased by 12% (not significant). In frontal brain regions, significant improvements in BH activation extent (11.4%, P<.05) and T-scores (18%, P<.0002) were demonstrated. Higher temporal resolution can be achieved by tradeoff of SNR.

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    ABSTRACT: T2*-weighted Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) requires efficient acquisition methods in order to fully sample the brain in a several second time period. The most widely used approach is Echo Planar Imaging (EPI), which utilizes a Cartesian trajectory to cover k-space. This trajectory is subject to ghosts from off-resonance and gradient imperfections and is intrinsically sensitive to cardiac-induced pulsatile motion from substantial first- and higher order moments of the gradient waveform near the k-space origin. In addition, only the readout direction gradient contributes significant energy to the trajectory. By contrast, the spiral method samples k-space with an Archimedean or similar trajectory that begins at the k-space center and spirals to the edge (spiral-out), or its reverse, ending at the origin (spiral-in). Spiral methods have reduced sensitivity to motion, shorter readout times, improved signal recovery in most frontal and parietal brain regions, and exhibit blurring artifacts instead of ghosts or geometric distortion. Methods combining spiral-in and spiral-out trajectories have further advantages in terms of diminished susceptibility-induced signal dropout and increased BOLD signal. In measurements of temporal signal to noise ratio measured in 8 subjects, spiral-in/out exhibited significant increases over EPI in voxel volumes recovered in frontal and whole brain regions (18% and 10%, respectively).
    No preview · Article · Oct 2011 · NeuroImage