Denis Chaimow1, 2, Kamil Ugurbil1, Amir Shmuel, 13
1Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States; 2Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tbingen, Germany; 3Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
The ability of high-field fMRI to truly resolve columnar organization depends on the spatial scale of the pattern, the BOLD point spread, the voxel size and the noise level. To better understand the role of each factor, and to guide the selection of optimal parameters, we developed a mathematical model of imaging cortical columns. We quantified the expected differential functional contrast relative to noise and the expected similarity between the imaged pattern and the true columnar organization as a function of parameters of interest. We found that the voxel width that optimizes differential contrast is larger than the one that optimizes accuracy. Furthermore, we propose a method for confirming that an imaged pattern reflects the true columnar organization.