A critical assessment of data quality and venous effects in sub-millimeter fMRI.

07:00 EST 4th February 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "A critical assessment of data quality and venous effects in sub-millimeter fMRI."

Advances in hardware, pulse sequences, and reconstruction techniques have made it possible to perform functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at sub-millimeter resolution while maintaining high spatial coverage and acceptable signal-to-noise ratio. Here, we examine whether sub-millimeter fMRI can be used as a routine method for obtaining accurate measurements of fine-scale local neural activity. We conducted fMRI in human visual cortex during a simple event-related visual experiment (7 T, gradient-echo EPI, 0.8-mm isotropic voxels, 2.2-s sampling rate, 84 slices), and developed analysis and visualization tools to assess the quality of the data. Our results fall along three lines of inquiry. First, we find that the acquired fMRI images, combined with appropriate surface-based processing, provide reliable and accurate measurements of fine-scale blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) activity patterns. Second, we show that the highly folded structure of cortex causes substantial biases on spatial resolution and data visualization. Third, we examine the well-recognized issue of venous contributions to fMRI signals. In a systematic assessment of large sections of cortex measured at a fine scale, we show that time-averaged T*-weighted EPI intensity is a simple, robust marker of venous effects. These venous effects are unevenly distributed across cortex, are more pronounced in gyri and outer cortical depths, and are, to a certain degree, in consistent locations across subjects relative to cortical folding. Furthermore, we show that these venous effects are strongly correlated with BOLD responses evoked by the experiment. We conclude that sub-millimeter fMRI can provide robust information about fine-scale BOLD activity patterns, but special care must be exercised in visualizing and interpreting these patterns, especially with regards to the confounding influence of the brain's vasculature. To help translate these methodological findings to neuroscience research, we provide practical suggestions for both high-resolution and standard-resolution fMRI studies.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: NeuroImage
ISSN: 1095-9572


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Impaired venous blood flow or venous return (venous stasis), usually caused by inadequate venous valves. Venous insufficiency often occurs in the legs, and is associated with EDEMA and sometimes with VENOUS STASIS ULCERS at the ankle.

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