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Abstract #5443

Distortion-matched high-resolution reduced-FoV functional and diffusion MRI of the human brainstem at 7T

Giovanni Savini1,2, Fabrizio Fasano3, Joseph Whittaker 2, Letizia Casiraghi4,5, Fulvia Palesi5,6, Gloria Castellazzi5,7, Alessandro Lascialfari1, Egidio D'Angelo4,5, Derek Jones2, Richard Wise2, and Claudia Angela Gandini Wheeler-Kingshott4,8,9

1Department of Physics, University of Milan, Milano, Italy, 2CUBRIC, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 3Siemens Healthcare Ltd, Frimley, Camberley, United Kingdom, 4Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy, 5Brain Connectivity Center, C. Mondino National Neurological Institute, Pavia, Italy, 6Department of Physics, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy, 7Department of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy, 8Queen Square MS Centre, UCL Institute of Neurology, Faculty of Brain Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom, 9Brain MRI 3T Research Centre, C. Mondino National Neurological Institute, Pavia, Italy

The brainstem plays a key role in the central nervous system, but its proximity to the oral cavity and physiological noise sources constitute major limitations for EPI imaging. We compared image quality from full and reduced-FoV spin-echo EPI sequences at ultrahigh field. Compared to standard EPI acquisitions, reduced-FoV techniques confer considerable benefits for brainstem imaging in terms of shortening TE, increasing signal-to-noise ratio and mitigating distortions. We exploited these advantages for 7T distortion-matched functional and diffusion imaging of the brainstem using ZOOM-EPI. A finger tapping task resulted in significant activations in regions corresponding to the cuneate nucleus and the pyramidal decussation.

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