Description of functional brain MR imaging techniques and sequences
After reading this chapter, you should be able:
Describe the cascade of phenomena linking neuronal activation and BOLD contrast
List the MRI sequences adapted to functional explorations
Present the basic steps of a functional MRI study: design of activation tasks, choice of paradigm, data acquisition, signal processing and statistical analysis of the results
Functional MRI will only detect brain activation very indirectly, as variations in the T2* signal, following changes in the oxyHb/deoxyHb ratio, after neurovascular coupling triggered by neuronal activity.
Data acquisition is carried out in T2*-weighted ultrafast sequences of the echo planar type, sensitive to BOLD contrast, during a succession of different repeated tasks following a paradigm.
The signal variations are very weak and their analysis is based on a statistical comparison between different states of activation.
The temporal resolution of fMRI, combined with the possibilities of morphological imaging, make MRI a modality of choice in the neurosciences.
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