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Abstract #1413

Imaging the human brainstem at 7 Tesla using multi-modal echo-planar imaging

Florian Beissner 1 , Jonathan R. Polimeni 1 , Marta Bianciardi 1 , Ville Renvall 1,2 , Cornelius Eichner 1,3 , Vitaly Napadow 1 , and Lawrence L. Wald 1,4

1 Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Charlestown, MA, United States, 2 Brain and Mind Laboratory, Aalto University, Finland, 3 Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany, 4 Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States

The human brainstem is a notoriously difficult structure to study with MRI. Here, we present an entirely EPI-based approach that allows for the acquisition of T2*-weighted functional, T1-weighted structural as well as diffusion-weighted images at a resolution of 1.2 mm isotropic. Due to matched voxel size and distortion, BOLD and DTI images can be normalized to MNI space applying transformation parameters estimated from the T1-weighted EPI image, minimizing coregistration errors. Using masked independent component analysis we were able to detect brainstem nuclei at the single-subject level and to depict their functional connectivity to the rest of the brain.

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