Ultra high fields (UHF) permit unprecedented explorations of functional organizations and insight into basic neuronal processes. Increases in the signal and contrast to noise ratios have allowed increases in the spatial resolution of T(2)() weighted gradient echo (GE) echo planar imaging (EPI). Furthermore, while the use of T(2) weighted imaging methods at UHF (e.g. spin echo (SE) EPI, gradient and spin echo (GRASE) EPI) can also permit higher resolution images, they in addition allow for increased spatial specificity of functional responses, permitting the in-vivo study of functional organizations down to the columnar level of the cortex. The study of the visual cortex has, thus far, benefitted the most from higher resolution T(2) weighted studies as achieving the required transmit B(1) magnitude at 7T is more challenging in other brain regions, such as the auditory cortex. As such, auditory fMRI studies at UHF have been limited to T(2)* weighted GE sequences. Recent advances in multi-channel RF transmission (e.g. B(1) shimming) have enabled procedures to efficiently address deficiencies in transmit B(1) profiles. However, these techniques, shown to be advantageous in anatomical imaging at UHF, are not generally utilized to facilitate T(2) weighted fMRI studies. Here we investigate the feasibility of applying B(1) shimming to achieve efficient RF transmission in the human auditory cortex. We demonstrate that, with B(1) shimming, functional responses to simple tones and to complex sounds (i.e. voices, speech, animal cries, tools and nature) can be efficiently measured with T(2) weighted SE-EPI in the bilateral human auditory cortex at 7T without exceeding specific absorption rate (SAR) limits.
View graph of relations
- 7 T, BOLD, fMRI, Spin echo, B-1 shimming, Auditory cortex, OCULAR DOMINANCE COLUMNS, HUMAN BRAIN, FMRI, SIGNAL, HUMANS, CORTEX, ORGANIZATION, PERFORMANCE, TRANSMIT, SUBJECT