Reduced field of view imaging using a static second-order gradient for functional MRI applications

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Purpose:Imaging using reduced FOV excitation allows higher resolution or signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) per scan time but often requires long radiofrequency pulses. The goal of this study was to improve a recent reduced field of view (FOV) method that uses a second-order shim gradient to decrease pulse length and evaluate its use in functional MRI (fMRI) applications.Theory and Methods:The method, which was initially limited to excite thin disc-shaped regions at the isocenter, was extended to excite thicker regions off the isocenter and produced accurate excitation profiles on a grid phantom. Visual stimulation fMRI scans were performed with full and reduced FOV. The resolution of the time series images and functional activation maps were assessed using the full-width half-maxima of the autocorrelation functions (FACFs) of the noise images and the activation map values, respectively.Results:The resolution was higher in the reduced FOV time series images (4.1% ± 3.7% FACF reduction, P < 0.02) and functional activation maps (3.1% ± 3.4% FACF reduction, P < 0.01), but the SNR was lower (by 26.5% ± 16.9%). However, for a few subjects, the targeted region could not be localized to the reduced FOV due to the low Z2 gradient strength.Conclusion:The results of this study suggest that the proposed method is feasible, though it would benefit from a stronger gradient coil. Magn Reson Med 75:817–822, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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