University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Michael Garwood

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Using RASER
U. Goerke, M. Garwood, K. Ugurbil, NeuroImage 54:350-360, 2011. PMCID: PMC2975516

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Although functional imaging of neuronal activity by magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has become the primary methodology employed in studying the brain, significant portions of the brain are inaccessible by this methodology due to its sensitivity to macroscopic magnetic field inhomogeneities induced near air-filled cavities in the head. In this paper, we demonstrate that this sensitivity is eliminated by a novel pulse sequence, RASER (rapid acquisition by sequential excitation and refocusing) (Chamberlain et al., 2007), that can generate functional maps. This is accomplished because RASER acquired signals are purely and perfectly T(2) weighted, without any T(2)*-effects that are inherent in the other image acquisition schemes employed to date. T(2)-weighted fMRI sequences are also more specific to the site of neuronal activity at ultrahigh magnetic fields than T(2)*-variations since they are dominated by signal components originating from the tissue in the capillary bed. The RASER based fMRI response is quantified; it is shown to have an inherently less noisy time series and to provide fMRI in brain regions, such as the orbitofrontal cortex, which are challenging to image with conventional techniques.