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Abstract #2067

Vascular Autocalibration of fMRI (VasA fMRI) Improves Sensitivity of Population Studies

Samira M Kazan 1 , Siawoosh Mohammadi 1 , Martina F Callaghan 1 , Guillaume Flandin 1 , Robert Leech 2 , Aneurin Kennerley 3 , Christian Windischberger 4 , and Nikolaus Weiskopf 1

1 Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom, 2 Cognitive, Clinical and Computational Neuroimaging Lab, University of London, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom, 3 Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom, 4 MR Centre of Excellence, Centre for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Functional MRI group studies play a central role in basic and clinical neuroscience, but without large group sizes their statistical powers are rather low, mainly due to high inter-subject variance. We present a novel auto-calibration method, termed VasA fMRI, which significantly reduces variation and increases statistical power by accounting for vascularization differences between subjects. Sensitivity increases exceeded 20% in different brain areas, which is comparable to the gain achieved by a 40% increase in group size or by going from 1.5T to 3T. VasA fMRI does not require additional reference scans and can be applied to any task-related fMRI dataset. It facilitates investigation of subtle effects, the use of smaller groups and revisiting previous studies that were statistically underpowered.

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