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Abstract #3733

Characterization of ultra-high resolution Gradient Echo and Spin Echo BOLD fMRI in the human visual cortex at 7 Tesla

Catarina Rua1,2, Mauro Costagli2,3, Mark R Symms4, Laura Biagi3, Mirco Cosottini2,5, Alberto Del Guerra1, and Michela Tosetti2,3

1Department of Physics, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy, 2Imago7 Research Center, Pisa, Italy, 3IRCCS Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy, 4GE Healthcare, Pisa, Italy, 5Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

This study compared GRE-EPI and SE-EPI sequences with different spatial resolutions at 7T for fMRI in the visual cortex. It is demonstrated that SE-EPI yields higher specificity than GRE-EPI. However, the decreasing temporal signal-to-noise at submillimeter acquisitions affected significantly the extension of the activated volume in a SE acquisition. At this level, GRE-based functional maps showed significant increased specificity compared to standard resolutions, and a preserved cluster volume. The reduction of partial volume effects allowed the selection of an activation sub-cluster excluding the highest z-scores, which co-localized preferably in non-gray matter, potentially increasing the performance of UHF high-resolution fMRI.

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