Whole-brain high in-plane resolution fMRI using accelerated EPIK for enhanced characterisation of functional areas at 3T

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Abstract

The relatively high imaging speed of EPI has led to its widespread use in dynamic MRI studies such as functional MRI. An approach to improve the performance of EPI, EPI with Keyhole (EPIK), has been previously presented and its use in fMRI was verified at 1.5T as well as 3T. The method has been proven to achieve a higher temporal resolution and smaller image distortions when compared to single-shot EPI. Furthermore, the performance of EPIK in the detection of functional signals was shown to be comparable to that of EPI. For these reasons, we were motivated to employ EPIK here for high-resolution imaging. The method was optimised to offer the highest possible in-plane resolution and slice coverage under the given imaging constraints: fixed TR/TE, FOV and acceleration factors for parallel imaging and partial Fourier techniques. The performance of EPIK was evaluated in direct comparison to the optimised protocol obtained from EPI. The two imaging methods were applied to visual fMRI experiments involving sixteen subjects. The results showed that enhanced spatial resolution with a whole-brain coverage was achieved by EPIK (1.00 mm × 1.00 mm; 32 slices) when compared to EPI (1.25 mm × 1.25 mm; 28 slices). As a consequence, enhanced characterisation of functional areas has been demonstrated in EPIK particularly for relatively small brain regions such as the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and superior colliculus (SC); overall, a significantly increased t-value and activation area were observed from EPIK data. Lastly, the use of EPIK for fMRI was validated with the simulation of different types of data reconstruction methods.

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Yun, S. D., & Shah, N. J. (2017). Whole-brain high in-plane resolution fMRI using accelerated EPIK for enhanced characterisation of functional areas at 3T. PloS One, 12(9), e0184759. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184759

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