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Abstract #4300

Understanding the fMRI Response to Thermal Stimuli in the Human Spinal Cord

Christopher Alan Kidd1, Rachael Lee Bosma1, Patrick W. Stroman1,2

1Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada; 2Departments of Diagnostic Radiology & Physics, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Spinal fMRI is a means of assessing changes of neuronal function after spinal cord injury. To use spinal fMRI as a clinical tool, healthy spinal cord responses must first be characterized. Using a HASTE sequence, fMRI protocols were carried out in healthy individuals by applying thermal stimulation to four disparate dermatomes activating cervical, upper and lower thoracic, and lumbar segments of the spinal cord. Our findings show that similar signal responses occur within the cervical and lumbar segments, and contrasting activity patterns in thoracic segments. Furthermore, all levels of the cord show neuronal activation corresponding to a change in temperature.