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Abstract #0869

Steady-state Functional MRI Using Spoiled Small-tip Fast Recovery (STFR) Imaging

Hao Sun 1 , Jeffrey A. Fessler 1 , Douglas C. Noll 2 , and Jon-Fredrik Nielsen 2

1 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, 2 Biomedical Engineering, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, United States

Most functional brain MR imaging uses T2*-weighted gradient-echo sequences with single-shot readout (BOLD fMRI), providing high activation contrast but suffering from off-resonance-induced image artifacts (signal drop, distortions or blurring). Steady-state fMRI based on balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) uses segmented readouts and can produce excellent image quality, but is susceptible to dark banding artifacts, and generally has lower functional contrast than BOLD. Small-tip fast recovery (STFR) imaging is a recently proposed steady-state imaging sequence that has similar image intensity to bSSFP, but with reduced signal variations (banding) due to resonance offsets. STFR relies on a tailored tip-up, or fast recovery, RF pulse to align the spins with the longitudinal axis after each data readout segment. Using Monte Carlo Bloch simulation and preliminary in vivo experiments, it has been demonstrated that STFR can produce detectable fMRI signal. Here we investigate the spoiled STFR fMRI sequence in more detail by: (1) performing a quantitative comparison between simulation and in vivo experiments, and (2) estimating testretest reliability of STFR (and BOLD) functional maps.

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