Evaluation of SLIce Dithered Enhanced Resolution Simultaneous MultiSlice (SLIDER-SMS) for human fMRI

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High isotropic resolution fMRI is challenging primarily due to long repetition times (TR) and insufficient SNR, especially at lower field strengths. Recently, Simultaneous Multi-Slice (SMS) imaging with blipped-CAIPI has substantially reduced scan time and improved SNR efficiency of fMRI. Similarly, super-resolution techniques utilizing sub- voxel spatial shifts in the slice direction have increased both resolution and SNR efficiency. Here we demonstrate the synergistic combination of SLIce Dithered Enhanced Resolution (SLIDER) and SMS for high-resolution, high-SNR whole brain fMRI in comparison to standard resolution fMRI data as well as high-resolution data. With SLIDER-SMS, high spatial frequency information is recovered (unaliased) even in absence of super-resolution deblurring algorithms. Additionally we find that BOLD CNR (as measured by t-value in a visual checkerboard paradigm) is improved by as much as 100% relative to traditionally acquired high- resolution data. Using this gain in CNR, we are able to obtain unprecedented nominally isotropic resolutions at 3 T (0.66 mm) and 7 T (0.45 mm).HighlightsSLIDER-SMS enables ultra-high resolution, high CNR fMRI data at both 3T and 7T.SLIDER enhances sensitivity to BOLD susceptibility changes with thicker slices.Blurring through acquisition (as opposed to post-processing) is superior for SNR.Forgoing the SLIDER deblurring step may be preferred for optimal BOLD CNR.

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