High-resolution FMRI at 1.5T using balanced SSFP.
Miller KL., Smith SM., Jezzard P., Pauly JM.
The resolution in conventional BOLD FMRI is considerably lower than can be achieved with other MRI methods, and is insufficient for many important applications. One major difficulty in robustly improving spatial resolution is the poor image quality in BOLD FMRI, which suffers from distortions, blurring, and signal dropout. This work considers the potential for increased resolution with a new FMRI method based on balanced SSFP. This method establishes a blood oxygenation sensitive steady-state (BOSS) signal, in which the frequency sensitivity of balanced SSFP is used to detect the frequency shift of deoxyhemoglobin. BOSS FMRI is highly SNR efficient and does not suffer from image distortions or signal dropout, making this method an excellent candidate for high-resolution FMRI. This study presents the first demonstration of high-resolution BOSS FMRI, using an efficient 3D stack-of-segmented EPI readout and combined acquisition at multiple center frequencies. BOSS FMRI is shown to enable high-resolution FMRI data (1 x 1 x 2 mm(3)) in both visual and motor systems using standard hardware at 1.5 T. Currently, the major limitation of BOSS FMRI is its sensitivity to temporal and spatial field drift.