Learning what to approach, and what to avoid, involves assigning value to environmental cues that predict positive and negative events. Studies in animals indicate that the lateral habenula encodes the previously learned negative motivational value of stimuli. However, involvement of the habenula in dynamic trial-by-trial aversive learning has not been assessed, and the functional role of this structure in humans remains poorly characterized, in part, due to its small size. Using high-resolution functional neuroimaging and computational modeling of reinforcement learning, we demonstrate positive habenula responses to the dynamically changing values of cues signaling painful electric shocks, which predict behavioral suppression of responses to those cues across individuals. By contrast, negative habenula responses to monetary reward cue values predict behavioral invigoration. Our findings show that the habenula plays a key role in an online aversive learning system and in generating associated motivated behavior in humans.
Typically MEG source reconstruction is used to estimate the distribution of current flow on a single anatomically derived cortical surface model. In this study we use two such models representing superficial and deep cortical laminae. We establish how well we can discriminate between these two different cortical layer models based on the same MEG data in the presence of different levels of co-registration noise, Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) and cortical patch size. We demonstrate that it is possible to make a distinction between superficial and deep cortical laminae for levels of co-registration noise of less than 2mm translation and 2° rotation at SNR>11dB. We also show that an incorrect estimate of cortical patch size will tend to bias layer estimates. We then use a 3D printed head-cast (Troebinger et al., 2014) to achieve comparable levels of co-registration noise, in an auditory evoked response paradigm, and show that it is possible to discriminate between these cortical layer models in real data.
Despite advances in understanding basic organizational principles of the human basal ganglia, accurate in vivo assessment of their anatomical properties is essential to improve early diagnosis in disorders with corticosubcortical pathology and optimize target planning in deep brain stimulation. Main goal of this study was the detailed topological characterization of limbic, associative, and motor subdivisions of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in relation to corresponding corticosubcortical circuits. To this aim, we used magnetic resonance imaging and investigated independently anatomical connectivity via white matter tracts next to brain tissue properties. On the basis of probabilistic diffusion tractography we identified STN subregions with predominantly motor, associative, and limbic connectivity. We then computed for each of the nonoverlapping STN subregions the covariance between local brain tissue properties and the rest of the brain using high-resolution maps of magnetization transfer (MT) saturation and longitudinal (R1) and transverse relaxation rate (R2*). The demonstrated spatial distribution pattern of covariance between brain tissue properties linked to myelin (R1 and MT) and iron (R2*) content clearly segregates between motor and limbic basal ganglia circuits. We interpret the demonstrated covariance pattern as evidence for shared tissue properties within a functional circuit, which is closely linked to its function. Our findings open new possibilities for investigation of changes in the established covariance pattern aiming at accurate diagnosis of basal ganglia disorders and prediction of treatment outcome.
The longitudinal relaxation rate (R1 ) measured in vivo depends on the local microstructural properties of the tissue, such as macromolecular, iron, and water content. Here, we use whole brain multiparametric in vivo data and a general linear relaxometry model to describe the dependence of R1 on these components. We explore a) the validity of having a single fixed set of model coefficients for the whole brain and b) the stability of the model coefficients in a large cohort.
A pressing need exists to disentangle age-related changes from pathologic neurodegeneration. This study aims to characterize the spatial pattern and age-related differences of biologically relevant measures in vivo over the course of normal aging. Quantitative multiparameter maps that provide neuroimaging biomarkers for myelination and iron levels, parameters sensitive to aging, were acquired from 138 healthy volunteers (age range: 19-75 years). Whole-brain voxel-wise analysis revealed a global pattern of age-related degeneration. Significant demyelination occurred principally in the white matter. The observed age-related differences in myelination were anatomically specific. In line with invasive histologic reports, higher age-related differences were seen in the genu of the corpus callosum than the splenium. Iron levels were significantly increased in the basal ganglia, red nucleus, and extensive cortical regions but decreased along the superior occipitofrontal fascicle and optic radiation. This whole-brain pattern of age-associated microstructural differences in the asymptomatic population provides insight into the neurobiology of aging. The results help build a quantitative baseline from which to examine and draw a dividing line between healthy aging and pathologic neurodegeneration.
Relaxation rates provide important information about tissue microstructure. Multi-parameter mapping (MPM) estimates multiple relaxation parameters from multi-echo FLASH acquisitions with different basic contrasts, i.e., proton density (PD), T1 or magnetization transfer (MT) weighting. Motion can particularly affect maps of the apparent transverse relaxation rate R2(*), which are derived from the signal of PD-weighted images acquired at different echo times. To address the motion artifacts, we introduce ESTATICS, which robustly estimates R2(*) from images even when acquired with different basic contrasts. ESTATICS extends the fitted signal model to account for inherent contrast differences in the PDw, T1w and MTw images. The fit was implemented as a conventional ordinary least squares optimization and as a robust fit with a small or large confidence interval. These three different implementations of ESTATICS were tested on data affected by severe motion artifacts and data with no prominent motion artifacts as determined by visual assessment or fast optical motion tracking. ESTATICS improved the quality of the R2(*) maps and reduced the coefficient of variation for both types of data-with average reductions of 30% when severe motion artifacts were present. ESTATICS can be applied to any protocol comprised of multiple 2D/3D multi-echo FLASH acquisitions as used in the general research and clinical setting.
In this article we provide a comprehensive literature review on the in vivo assessment of use-dependant brain structure changes in humans using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computational anatomy. We highlight the recent findings in this field that allow the uncovering of the basic principles behind brain plasticity in light of the existing theoretical models at various scales of observation. Given the current lack of in-depth understanding of the neurobiological basis of brain structure changes we emphasize the necessity of a paradigm shift in the investigation and interpretation of use-dependent brain plasticity. Novel quantitative MRI acquisition techniques provide access to brain tissue microstructural properties (e.g., myelin, iron, and water content) in-vivo, thereby allowing unprecedented specific insights into the mechanisms underlying brain plasticity. These quantitative MRI techniques require novel methods for image processing and analysis of longitudinal data allowing for straightforward interpretation and causality inferences.
Visual perception depends strongly on spatial context. A classic example is the tilt illusion where the perceived orientation of a central stimulus differs from its physical orientation when surrounded by tilted spatial contexts. Here we show that such contextual modulation of orientation perception exhibits trait-like interindividual diversity that correlates with interindividual differences in effective connectivity within human primary visual cortex. We found that the degree to which spatial contexts induced illusory orientation perception, namely, the magnitude of the tilt illusion, varied across healthy human adults in a trait-like fashion independent of stimulus size or contrast. Parallel to contextual modulation of orientation perception, the presence of spatial contexts affected effective connectivity within human primary visual cortex between peripheral and foveal representations that responded to spatial context and central stimulus, respectively. Importantly, this effective connectivity from peripheral to foveal primary visual cortex correlated with interindividual differences in the magnitude of the tilt illusion. Moreover, this correlation with illusion perception was observed for effective connectivity under tilted contextual stimulation but not for that under iso-oriented contextual stimulation, suggesting that it reflected the impact of orientation-dependent intra-areal connections. Our findings revealed an interindividual correlation between intra-areal connectivity within primary visual cortex and contextual influence on orientation perception. This neurophysiological-perceptual link provides empirical evidence for theoretical proposals that intra-areal connections in early visual cortices are involved in contextual modulation of visual perception.
Action inhibition can globally prevent all motor output or selectively cancel specific actions during concurrent motor output. Here we examine the behavioral and neural basis of selective inhibition focusing on the role of preparation. In 18 healthy human participants we manipulated the extent to which they could prepare for selective inhibition by providing or withholding information on what actions might need to be stopped. We show that, on average, information improves both speed and selectivity of inhibition. Functional magnetic resonance imaging data show that preparation for selective inhibition engages the inferior frontal gyrus, supplementary motor area, and striatum. Examining interindividual differences, we find the benefit of proactive control to speed and selectivity of inhibition trade off against each other, such that an improvement in stopping speed leads to a deterioration of selectivity of inhibition, and vice versa. This trade-off is implemented through engagement of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and putamen. Our results suggest proactive selective inhibition is implemented within frontostriatal structures, and we provide evidence that a speed-selectivity trade-off might underlie a range of findings reported previously.
The Rubber Hand Illusion (RHI) is an established paradigm for studying body ownership, and several studies have implicated premotor and temporo-parietal brain regions in its neuronal foundation. Here we used an automated setup to induce a novel multi-site version of the RHI in healthy human participants inside an MR-scanner, with a RHI and control condition that were matched in terms of synchrony of visual and tactile stimulation. Importantly, as previous research has shown that most of the ownership-related brain areas also respond to observed human actions and touch, or body parts of others, here such potential effects of the experimenter were eliminated by the automated procedure. The RHI condition induced a strong ownership illusion; we found correspondingly stronger brain activity during the RHI versus control condition in contralateral middle occipital gyrus (mOCG) and bilateral anterior insula, which have previously been related to illusory body ownership. Using independent functional localizers, we confirmed that the activity in mOCG was located within the body-part selective extrastriate body area (EBA). Crucially, activity differences in participants peak voxels within the left EBA correlated strongly positively with their behavioral illusion scores. Thus EBA activity also reflected interindividual differences in the experienced intensity of illusory limb ownership. Moreover, psychophysiological interaction analyses (PPI) revealed that contralateral primary somatosensory cortex had stronger brain connectivity with EBA during the RHI versus control condition, while EBA was more strongly interacting with temporo-parietal multisensory regions. In sum, our findings demonstrate a direct involvement of EBA in limb ownership.
Precise MEG estimates of neuronal current flow are undermined by uncertain knowledge of the head location with respect to the MEG sensors. This is either due to head movements within the scanning session or systematic errors in co-registration to anatomy. Here we show how such errors can be minimized using subject-specific head-casts produced using 3D printing technology. The casts fit the scalp of the subject internally and the inside of the MEG dewar externally, reducing within session and between session head movements. Systematic errors in matching to MRI coordinate system are also reduced through the use of MRI-visible fiducial markers placed on the same cast. Bootstrap estimates of absolute co-registration error were of the order of 1mm. Estimates of relative co-registration error were <1.5mm between sessions. We corroborated these scalp based estimates by looking at the MEG data recorded over a 6month period. We found that the between session sensor variability of the subjects evoked response was of the order of the within session noise, showing no appreciable noise due to between-session movement. Simulations suggest that the between-session sensor level amplitude SNR improved by a factor of 5 over conventional strategies. We show that at this level of coregistration accuracy there is strong evidence for anatomical models based on the individual rather than canonical anatomy; but that this advantage disappears for errors of greater than 5mm. This work paves the way for source reconstruction methods which can exploit very high SNR signals and accurate anatomical models; and also significantly increases the sensitivity of longitudinal studies with MEG.
A fundamental tenet of neuroscience is that cortical functional differentiation is related to the cross-areal differences in cyto-, receptor-, and myeloarchitectonics that are observed in ex-vivo preparations. An ongoing challenge is to create noninvasive magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques that offer sufficient resolution, tissue contrast, accuracy and precision to allow for characterization of cortical architecture over an entire living human brain. One exciting development is the advent of fast, high-resolution quantitative mapping of basic MR parameters that reflect cortical myeloarchitecture. Here, we outline some of the theoretical and technical advances underlying this technique, particularly in terms of measuring and correcting for transmit and receive radio frequency field inhomogeneities. We also discuss new directions in analytic techniques, including higher resolution reconstructions of the cortical surface. We then discuss two recent applications of this technique. The first compares individual and group myelin maps to functional retinotopic maps in the same individuals, demonstrating a close relationship between functionally and myeloarchitectonically defined areal boundaries (as well as revealing an interesting disparity in a highly studied visual area). The second combines tonotopic and myeloarchitectonic mapping to localize primary auditory areas in individual healthy adults, using a similar strategy as combined electrophysiological and post-mortem myeloarchitectonic studies in non-human primates.
The human brainstem is a densely packed, complex but highly organised structure. It not only serves as a conduit for long projecting axons conveying motor and sensory information, but also is the location of multiple primary nuclei that control or modulate a vast array of functions, including homeostasis, consciousness, locomotion, and reflexive and emotive behaviours. Despite its importance, both in understanding normal brain function as well as neurodegenerative processes, it remains a sparsely studied structure in the neuroimaging literature. In part, this is due to the difficulties in imaging the internal architecture of the brainstem in vivo in a reliable and repeatable fashion. A modified multivariate mixture of Gaussians (mmMoG) was applied to the problem of multichannel tissue segmentation. By using quantitative magnetisation transfer and proton density maps acquired at 3 T with 0.8 mm isotropic resolution, tissue probability maps for four distinct tissue classes within the human brainstem were created. These were compared against an ex vivo fixated human brain, imaged at 0.5 mm, with excellent anatomical correspondence. These probability maps were used within SPM8 to create accurate individual subject segmentations, which were then used for further quantitative analysis. As an example, brainstem asymmetries were assessed across 34 right-handed individuals using voxel based morphometry (VBM) and tensor based morphometry (TBM), demonstrating highly significant differences within localised regions that corresponded to motor and vocalisation networks. This method may have important implications for future research into MRI biomarkers of pre-clinical neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons disease.
Aging is ubiquitous to the human condition. The MRI correlates of healthy aging have been extensively investigated using a range of modalities, including volumetric MRI, quantitative MRI (qMRI), and diffusion tensor imaging. Despite this, the reported brainstem related changes remain sparse. This is, in part, due to the technical and methodological limitations in quantitatively assessing and statistically analyzing this region. By utilizing a new method of brainstem segmentation, a large cohort of 100 healthy adults were assessed in this study for the effects of aging within the human brainstem in vivo. Using qMRI, tensor-based morphometry (TBM), and voxel-based quantification (VBQ), the volumetric and quantitative changes across healthy adults between 19 and 75?years were characterized. In addition to the increased R2* in substantia nigra corresponding to increasing iron deposition with age, several novel findings were reported in the current study. These include selective volumetric loss of the brachium conjunctivum, with a corresponding decrease in magnetization transfer and increase in proton density (PD), accounting for the previously described "midbrain shrinkage." Additionally, we found increases in R1 and PD in several pontine and medullary structures. We consider these changes in the context of well-characterized, functional age-related changes, and propose potential biophysical mechanisms. This study provides detailed quantitative analysis of the internal architecture of the brainstem and provides a baseline for further studies of neurodegenerative diseases that are characterized by early, pre-clinical involvement of the brainstem, such as Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases.
Multi-center studies using magnetic resonance imaging facilitate studying small effect sizes, global population variance and rare diseases. The reliability and sensitivity of these multi-center studies crucially depend on the comparability of the data generated at different sites and time points. The level of inter-site comparability is still controversial for conventional anatomical T1-weighted MRI data. Quantitative multi-parameter mapping (MPM) was designed to provide MR parameter measures that are comparable across sites and time points, i.e., 1 mm high-resolution maps of the longitudinal relaxation rate (R1 = 1/T1), effective proton density (PD(*)), magnetization transfer saturation (MT) and effective transverse relaxation rate (R2(*) = 1/T2(*)). MPM was validated at 3T for use in multi-center studies by scanning five volunteers at three different sites. We determined the inter-site bias, inter-site and intra-site coefficient of variation (CoV) for typical morphometric measures [i.e., gray matter (GM) probability maps used in voxel-based morphometry] and the four quantitative parameters. The inter-site bias and CoV were smaller than 3.1 and 8%, respectively, except for the inter-site CoV of R2(*) (<20%). The GM probability maps based on the MT parameter maps had a 14% higher inter-site reproducibility than maps based on conventional T1-weighted images. The low inter-site bias and variance in the parameters and derived GM probability maps confirm the high comparability of the quantitative maps across sites and time points. The reliability, short acquisition time, high resolution and the detailed insights into the brain microstructure provided by MPM makes it an efficient tool for multi-center imaging studies.
The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a small, glutamatergic nucleus situated in the diencephalon. A critical component of normal motor function, it has become a key target for deep brain stimulation in the treatment of Parkinsons disease. Animal studies have demonstrated the existence of three functional sub-zones but these have never been shown conclusively in humans. In this work, a data driven method with diffusion weighted imaging demonstrated that three distinct clusters exist within the human STN based on brain connectivity profiles. The STN was successfully sub-parcellated into these regions, demonstrating good correspondence with that described in the animal literature. The local connectivity of each sub-region supported the hypothesis of bilateral limbic, associative and motor regions occupying the anterior, mid and posterior portions of the nucleus respectively. This study is the first to achieve in-vivo, non-invasive anatomical parcellation of the human STN into three anatomical zones within normal diagnostic scan times, which has important future implications for deep brain stimulation surgery.
MRI techniques such as quantitative imaging and parallel transmit require precise knowledge of the radio-frequency transmit field (B(1) (+)). Three published methods were optimized for robust B(1) (+) mapping at 3T in the human brain: three-dimensional (3D) actual flip angle imaging (AFI), 3D echo-planar imaging (EPI), and two-dimensional (2D) stimulated echo acquisition mode (STEAM). We performed a comprehensive comparison of the methods, focusing on artifacts, reproducibility, and accuracy compared to a reference 2D double angle method. For the 3D AFI method, the addition of flow-compensated gradients for diffusion damping reduced the level of physiological artifacts and improved spoiling of transverse coherences. Correction of susceptibility-induced artifacts alleviated image distortions and improved the accuracy of the 3D EPI imaging method. For the 2D STEAM method, averaging over multiple acquisitions reduced the impact of physiological noise and a new calibration method enhanced the accuracy of the B(1) (+) maps. After optimization, all methods yielded low noise B(1) (+) maps (below 2 percentage units), of the nominal flip angle value (p.u.) with a systematic bias less than 5 p.u. units. Full brain coverage was obtained in less than 5 min. The 3D AFI method required minimal postprocessing and showed little sensitivity to off-resonance and physiological effects. The 3D EPI method showed the highest level of reproducibility. The 2D STEAM method was the most time-efficient technique.
Quantitative mapping of the longitudinal relaxation rate (R1=1/T1) in the human brain enables the investigation of tissue microstructure and macroscopic morphology which are becoming increasingly important for clinical and neuroimaging applications. R1 maps are now commonly estimated from two fast high-resolution 3D FLASH acquisitions with variable excitation flip angles, because this approach is fast and does not rely on special acquisition techniques. However, these R1 maps need to be corrected for bias due to RF transmit field (B1(+)) inhomogeneities, requiring additional B1(+) mapping which is usually time consuming and difficult to implement. We propose a technique that simultaneously estimates the B1(+) inhomogeneities and R1 values from the uncorrected R1 maps in the human brain without need for B1(+) mapping. It employs a probabilistic framework for unified segmentation based correction of R1 maps for B1(+) inhomogeneities (UNICORT). The framework incorporates a physically informed generative model of smooth B1(+) inhomogeneities and their multiplicative effect on R1 estimates. Extensive cross-validation with the established standard using measured B1(+) maps shows that UNICORT yields accurate B1(+) and R1 maps with a mean deviation from the standard of less than 4.3% and 5%, respectively. The results of different groups of subjects with a wide age range and different levels of atypical brain anatomy further suggest that the method is robust and generalizes well to wider populations. UNICORT is easy to apply, as it is computationally efficient and its basic framework is implemented as part of the tissue segmentation in SPM8.
The value of quantitative MR methods as potential biomarkers in neuromuscular disease is being increasingly recognized. Previous studies of the magnetization transfer ratio have demonstrated sensitivity to muscle disease. The aim of this work was to investigate quantitative magnetization transfer imaging of skeletal muscle in healthy subjects at 3 T to evaluate its potential use in pathological muscle. The lower limb of 10 subjects was imaged using a 3D fast low-angle shot acquisition with variable magnetization transfer saturation pulse frequencies and amplitudes. The data were analyzed with an established quantitative two-pool model of magnetization transfer. T(1) and B(1) amplitude of excitation radiofrequency field maps were acquired and used as inputs to the quantitative magnetization transfer model, allowing properties of the free and restricted proton pools in muscle to be evaluated in seven different muscles in a region of interest analysis. The average restricted pool T(2) relaxation time was found to be 5.9 ± 0.2 ?s in the soleus muscle and the restricted proton pool fraction was 8 ± 1%. Quantitative magnetization transfer imaging of muscle offers potential new biomarkers in muscle disease within a clinically feasible scan time.
In 2001, Krueger and Glover introduced a model describing the temporal SNR (tSNR) of an EPI time series as a function of image SNR (SNR(0)). This model has been used to study physiological noise in fMRI, to optimize fMRI acquisition parameters, and to estimate maximum attainable tSNR for a given set of MR image acquisition and processing parameters. In its current form, this noise model requires the accurate estimation of image SNR. For multi-channel receiver coils, this is not straightforward because it requires export and reconstruction of large amounts of k-space raw data and detailed, custom-made image reconstruction methods. Here we present a simple extension to the model that allows characterization of the temporal noise properties of EPI time series acquired with multi-channel receiver coils, and reconstructed with standard root-sum-of-squares combination, without the need for raw data or custom-made image reconstruction. The proposed extended model includes an additional parameter ? which reflects the impact of noise correlations between receiver channels on the data and scales an apparent image SNR (SNR(0)) measured directly from root-sum-of-squares reconstructed magnitude images so that ??=?SNR(0)/SNR(0) (under the condition of SNR(0)>50 and number of channels ?32). Using Monte Carlo simulations we show that the extended model parameters can be estimated with high accuracy. The estimation of the parameter ? was validated using an independent measure of the actual SNR(0) for non-accelerated phantom data acquired at 3T with a 32-channel receiver coil. We also demonstrate that compared to the original model the extended model results in an improved fit to human task-free non-accelerated fMRI data acquired at 7T with a 24-channel receiver coil. In particular, the extended model improves the prediction of low to medium tSNR values and so can play an important role in the optimization of high-resolution fMRI experiments at lower SNR levels.
How autobiographical memories are represented in the human brain and whether this changes with time are questions central to memory neuroscience. Two regions in particular have been consistently implicated, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the hippocampus, although their precise contributions are still contested. The key question in this debate, when reduced to its simplest form, concerns where information about specific autobiographical memories is located. Here, we availed ourselves of the opportunity afforded by multivoxel pattern analysis to provide an alternative to conventional neuropsychological and fMRI approaches, by detecting representations of individual autobiographical memories in patterns of fMRI activity. We examined whether information about specific recent (two weeks old) and remote (10 years old) autobiographical memories was represented in vmPFC and hippocampus, and other medial temporal and neocortical regions. vmPFC contained information about recent and remote autobiographical memories, although remote memories were more readily detected there, indicating that consolidation or a change of some kind had occurred. Information about both types of memory was also present in the hippocampus, suggesting it plays a role in the retrieval of vivid autobiographical memories regardless of remoteness. Interestingly, we also found that while recent and remote memories were both represented within anterior and posterior hippocampus, the latter nevertheless contained more information about remote memories. Thus, like vmPFC, the hippocampus too respected the distinction between recent and remote memories. Overall, these findings clarify and extend our view of vmPFC and hippocampus while also informing systems-level consolidation and providing clear targets for future studies.
In contrast to vision, where retinotopic mapping alone can define areal borders, primary auditory areas such as A1 are best delineated by combining in vivo tonotopic mapping with postmortem cyto- or myeloarchitectonics from the same individual. We combined high-resolution (800 ?m) quantitative T(1) mapping with phase-encoded tonotopic methods to map primary auditory areas (A1 and R) within the "auditory core" of human volunteers. We first quantitatively characterize the highly myelinated auditory core in terms of shape, area, cortical depth profile, and position, with our data showing considerable correspondence to postmortem myeloarchitectonic studies, both in cross-participant averages and in individuals. The core region contains two "mirror-image" tonotopic maps oriented along the same axis as observed in macaque and owl monkey. We suggest that these two maps within the core are the human analogs of primate auditory areas A1 and R. The core occupies a much smaller portion of tonotopically organized cortex on the superior temporal plane and gyrus than is generally supposed. The multimodal approach to defining the auditory core will facilitate investigations of structure-function relationships, comparative neuroanatomical studies, and promises new biomarkers for diagnosis and clinical studies.
We combined quantitative relaxation rate (R1= 1/T1) mapping-to measure local myelination-with fMRI-based retinotopy. Gray-white and pial surfaces were reconstructed and used to sample R1 at different cortical depths. Like myelination, R1 decreased from deeper to superficial layers. R1 decreased passing from V1 and MT, to immediately surrounding areas, then to the angular gyrus. High R1 was correlated across the cortex with convex local curvature so the data was first "de-curved". By overlaying R1 and retinotopic maps, we found that many visual area borders were associated with significant R1 increases including V1, V3A, MT, V6, V6A, V8/VO1, FST, and VIP. Surprisingly, retinotopic MT occupied only the posterior portion of an oval-shaped lateral occipital R1 maximum. R1 maps were reproducible within individuals and comparable between subjects without intensity normalization, enabling multi-center studies of development, aging, and disease progression, and structure/function mapping in other modalities.
High-resolution functional MRI (fMRI) offers unique possibilities for studying human functional neuroanatomy. Although high-resolution fMRI has proven its potential at 7 T, most fMRI studies are still performed at rather low spatial resolution at 3 T. We optimized and compared single-shot two-dimensional echo-planar imaging (EPI) and multishot three-dimensional EPI high-resolution fMRI protocols. We extended image-based physiological noise correction from two-dimensional EPI to multishot three-dimensional EPI. The functional sensitivity of both acquisition schemes was assessed in a visual fMRI experiment. The physiological noise correction increased the sensitivity significantly, can be easily applied, and requires simple recordings of pulse and respiration only. The combination of three-dimensional EPI with physiological noise correction provides exceptional sensitivity for 1.5 mm high-resolution fMRI at 3 T, increasing the temporal signal-to-noise ratio by more than 25% compared to two-dimensional EPI.
In-vivo whole brain mapping of the radio frequency transmit field B(1) (+) is a key aspect of recent method developments in ultra high field MRI. We present an optimized method for fast and robust in-vivo whole-brain B(1) (+) mapping at 7T. The method is based on the acquisition of stimulated and spin echo 3D EPI images and was originally developed at 3T. We further optimized the method for use at 7T. Our optimization significantly improved the robustness of the method against large B(1) (+) deviations and off-resonance effects present at 7T. The mean accuracy and precision of the optimized method across the brain was high with a bias less than 2.6 percent unit (p.u.) and random error less than 0.7 p.u. respectively.
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