Rob Hendrikus Tijssen1, Mark Jenkinson1, Peter Jezzard1, Karla Loreen Miller1
1FMRIB Centre, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxon, UK
Functional imaging of the brainstem is problematic when using GRE-EPI BOLD due to susceptibility artefacts, small target nuclei, and high levels of physiological noise. Passband SSFP may provide an attractive alternative as it has the potential to produce high-resolution images with reduced distortions. This work presents a characterization of different physiological noise components in pbSSFP, SPGR and single-shot GRE-EPI. It was found that pbSSFP exhibits lower signal fluctuations at cardiac and respiratory frequencies compared to conventional GRE-EPI. These findings, in conjunction with the ability to obtain high-resolution, low-distortion images, may make pbSSFP an attractive option for brainstem fMRI.