PURPOSE: A ghost correction strategy for Simultaneous Multi-Slice (SMS) EPI methods that provides improved ghosting artifact reduction compared to conventional methods is presented. Conventional Nyquist ghost correction methods for SMS-EPI rely on navigator data that contain phase errors from all slices in the simultaneously acquired slice-group. These navigator data may contain spatially nonlinear phase differences near regions of B inhomogeneity, which violates the linear model employed by most EPI ghost correction algorithms, resulting in poor reconstructions.
METHODS: Dual-Polarity GRAPPA (DPG) was previously shown to accurately model and correct both spatially nonlinear and 2D phase errors in conventional single-slice EPI data. Here, an extension we call Dual-Polarity slice-GRAPPA (DPsG) is adapted to the slice-GRAPPA method and applied to SMS-EPI data for slice separation and ghost correction concurrently-eliminating the need for a separate ghost correction step while also providing improved slice-specific EPI phase error correction.
RESULTS: Images from in vivo SMS-EPI data reconstructed using DPsG in place of conventional Nyquist ghost correction and slice-GRAPPA are presented. DPsG is shown to reduce ghosting artifacts and provide improved temporal SNR compared to the conventional reconstruction.
CONCLUSION: The proposed use of DPsG for SMS-EPI reconstruction can provide images with lower artifact levels, higher image fidelity, and improved time-series stability compared to conventional reconstruction methods.
PURPOSE: To develop a reconstruction pipeline that intrinsically accounts for both simultaneous multislice echo planar imaging (SMS-EPI) reconstruction and dynamic slice-specific Nyquist ghosting correction in time-series data.
METHODS: After 1D slice-group average phase correction, the separate polarity (i.e., even and odd echoes) SMS-EPI data were unaliased by slice GeneRalized Autocalibrating Partial Parallel Acquisition. Both the slice-unaliased even and odd echoes were jointly reconstructed using a model-based framework, extended for SMS-EPI reconstruction that estimates a 2D self-phase map, corrects dynamic slice-specific phase errors, and combines data from all coils and echoes to obtain the final images.
RESULTS: The percentage ghost-to-signal ratios (%GSRs) and its temporal variations for MB3R 2 with a field of view/4 shift in a human brain obtained by the proposed dynamic 2D and standard 1D phase corrections were 1.37 ± 0.11 and 2.66 ± 0.16, respectively. Even with a large regularization parameter λ applied in the proposed reconstruction, the smoothing effect in fMRI activation maps was comparable to a very small Gaussian kernel size 1 × 1 × 1 mm .
CONCLUSION: The proposed reconstruction pipeline reduced slice-specific phase errors in SMS-EPI, resulting in reduction of GSR. It is applicable for functional MRI studies because the smoothing effect caused by the regularization parameter selection can be minimal in a blood-oxygen-level-dependent activation map.
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 3T (0.66 mm) and 7T (0.45 mm).
PURPOSE: To develop an efficient MR technique for ultra-high resolution diffusion MRI (dMRI) in the presence of motion.
METHODS: gSlider is an SNR-efficient high-resolution dMRI acquisition technique. However, subject motion is inevitable during a prolonged scan for high spatial resolution, leading to potential image artifacts and blurring. In this study, an integrated technique termed Motion Corrected gSlider (MC-gSlider) is proposed to obtain high-quality, high-resolution dMRI in the presence of large in-plane and through-plane motion. A motion-aware reconstruction with spatially adaptive regularization is developed to optimize the conditioning of the image reconstruction under difficult through-plane motion cases. In addition, an approach for intra-volume motion estimation and correction is proposed to achieve motion correction at high temporal resolution.
RESULTS: Theoretical SNR and resolution analysis validated the efficiency of MC-gSlider with regularization, and aided in selection of reconstruction parameters. Simulations and in vivo experiments further demonstrated the ability of MC-gSlider to mitigate motion artifacts and recover detailed brain structures for dMRI at 860 μm isotropic resolution in the presence of motion with various ranges.
CONCLUSION: MC-gSlider provides motion-robust, high-resolution dMRI with a temporal motion correction sensitivity of 2 s, allowing for the recovery of fine detailed brain structures in the presence of large subject movements.
The SNR and CNR benefits of ultra-high field (UHF) have helped push the envelope of achievable spatial resolution in MRI. For applications based on susceptibility contrast where there is a large CNR gain, high quality sub-millimeter resolution imaging is now being routinely performed, particularly in fMRI and phase imaging/QSM. This has enabled the study of structure and function of very fine-scale structures in the brain. UHF has also helped push the spatial resolution of many other MRI applications as will be outlined in this review. However, this push in resolution comes at a cost of a large encoding burden leading to very lengthy scans. Developments in parallel imaging with controlled aliasing and the move away from 2D slice-by-slice imaging to much more SNR-efficient simultaneous multi-slice (SMS) and 3D acquisitions have helped address this issue. In particular, these developments have revolutionized the efficiency of UHF MRI to enable high spatiotemporal resolution imaging at an order of magnitude faster acquisition. In addition to describing the main approaches to these techniques, this review will also outline important key practical considerations in using these methods in practice. Furthermore, new RF pulse design to tackle the B and SAR issues of UHF and the increased SAR and power requirement of SMS RF pulses will also be touched upon. Finally, an outlook into new developments of smart encoding in more dimensions, particularly through using better temporal/across-contrast encoding and reconstruction will be described. Just as controlled aliasing fully exploits spatial encoding in parallel imaging to provide large multiplicative gains in accelerations, the complimentary use of these new approaches in temporal and across-contrast encoding are expected to provide exciting opportunities for further large gains in efficiency to further push the spatiotemporal resolution of MRI.
Deep neural networks have demonstrated promising potential for the field of medical image reconstruction, successfully generating high quality images for CT, PET and MRI. In this work, an MRI reconstruction algorithm, which is referred to as quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM), has been developed using a deep neural network in order to perform dipole deconvolution, which restores magnetic susceptibility source from an MRI field map. Previous approaches of QSM require multiple orientation data (e.g. Calculation of Susceptibility through Multiple Orientation Sampling or COSMOS) or regularization terms (e.g. Truncated K-space Division or TKD; Morphology Enabled Dipole Inversion or MEDI) to solve an ill-conditioned dipole deconvolution problem. Unfortunately, they either entail challenges in data acquisition (i.e. long scan time and multiple head orientations) or suffer from image artifacts. To overcome these shortcomings, a deep neural network, which is referred to as QSMnet, is constructed to generate a high quality susceptibility source map from single orientation data. The network has a modified U-net structure and is trained using COSMOS QSM maps, which are considered as gold standard. Five head orientation datasets from five subjects were employed for patch-wise network training after doubling the training data using a model-based data augmentation. Seven additional datasets of five head orientation images (i.e. total 35 images) were used for validation (one dataset) and test (six datasets). The QSMnet maps of the test dataset were compared with the maps from TKD and MEDI for their image quality and consistency with respect to multiple head orientations. Quantitative and qualitative image quality comparisons demonstrate that the QSMnet results have superior image quality to those of TKD or MEDI results and have comparable image quality to those of COSMOS. Additionally, QSMnet maps reveal substantially better consistency across the multiple head orientation data than those from TKD or MEDI. As a preliminary application, the network was further tested for three patients, one with microbleed, another with multiple sclerosis lesions, and the third with hemorrhage. The QSMnet maps showed similar lesion contrasts with those from MEDI, demonstrating potential for future applications.
Simultaneous multislice echo-planar imaging (SMS-EPI) can enhance the spatiotemporal resolution of resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) by encoding and simultaneously imaging "groups" of slices. However, phenomena, including respiration, cardiac pulsatility, respiration volume per time (RVT), and cardiac rate variation (CRV), referred to as "physiological processes," impact SMS-EPI rs-fMRI in a manner that is yet to be well characterized. In particular, physiological noise may incur aliasing and introduce spurious signals from one slice into another within the "slice group" in rs-fMRI data, resulting in a deleterious effect on resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rs-fcMRI) maps. In the present work, we aimed to quantitatively compare the effects of physiological noise on regular EPI and SMS-EPI in terms of rs-fMRI data and resulting functional connectivity measurements. We compare SMS-EPI and regular EPI data acquired from 11 healthy young adults with matching parameters. The physiological noise characteristics were compared between the two data sets through different combinations of physiological regression steps. We observed that the physiological noise characteristics differed between SMS-EPI and regular EPI, with cardiac pulsatility contributing more to noise in regular EPI data but low-frequency heart rate variability contributing more to SMS-EPI. In addition, a significant slice-group bias was observed in the functional connectivity density maps derived from SMS-EPI data. We conclude that making appropriate corrections for physiological noise is likely more important for SMS-EPI than for regular EPI acquisitions.
Recent developments in fMRI acquisition techniques now enable fast sampling with whole-brain coverage, suggesting fMRI can be used to track changes in neural activity at increasingly rapid timescales. When images are acquired at fast rates, the limiting factor for fMRI temporal resolution is the speed of the hemodynamic response. Given that HRFs may vary substantially in subcortical structures, characterizing the speed of subcortical hemodynamic responses, and how the hemodynamic response shape changes with stimulus duration (i.e. the hemodynamic nonlinearity), is needed for designing and interpreting fast fMRI studies of these regions. We studied the temporal properties and nonlinearities of the hemodynamic response function (HRF) across the human subcortical visual system, imaging superior colliculus (SC), lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus (LGN) and primary visual cortex (V1) with high spatiotemporal resolution 7 Tesla fMRI. By presenting stimuli of varying durations, we mapped the timing and nonlinearity of hemodynamic responses in these structures at high spatiotemporal resolution. We found that the hemodynamic response is consistently faster and narrower in subcortical structures than in cortex. However, the nonlinearity in LGN is similar to that in cortex, with shorter duration stimuli eliciting larger and faster responses than would have been predicted by a linear model. Using oscillatory visual stimuli, we tested the frequency response in LGN and found that its BOLD response tracked high-frequency (0.5 Hz) oscillations. The LGN response magnitudes were comparable to V1, allowing oscillatory BOLD signals to be detected in LGN despite the small size of this structure. These results suggest that the increase in the speed and amplitude of the hemodynamic response when neural activity is brief may be the key physiological driver of fast fMRI signals, enabling detection of high-frequency oscillations with fMRI. We conclude that subcortical visual structures exhibit fast and nonlinear hemodynamic responses, and that these dynamics enable detection of fast BOLD signals even within small deep brain structures when imaging is performed at ultra-high field.
PURPOSE: This study introduces a highly accelerated whole-brain direct visualization of short transverse relaxation time component (ViSTa) imaging using a wave controlled aliasing in parallel imaging (CAIPI) technique, for acquisition within a clinically acceptable scan time, with the preservation of high image quality and sufficient spatial resolution, and reduced residual point spread function artifacts.
METHODS: Double inversion RF pulses were applied to preserve the signal from short T components for directly extracting myelin water signal in ViSTa imaging. A 2D simultaneous multislice and a 3D acquisition of ViSTa images incorporating wave-encoding were used for data acquisition. Improvements brought by a zero-padding method in wave-CAIPI reconstruction were also investigated.
RESULTS: The zero-padding method in wave-CAIPI reconstruction reduced the root-mean-square errors between the wave-encoded and Cartesian gradient echoes for all wave gradient configurations in simulation, and reduced the side-main lobe intensity ratio from 34.5 to 16% in the thin-slab in vivo ViSTa images. In a 4 × acceleration simultaneous-multislice scenario, wave-CAIPI ViSTa achieved negligible g-factors (g /g = 1.03/1.10), while retaining minimal interslice artifacts. An 8 × accelerated acquisition of 3D wave-CAIPI ViSTa imaging covering the whole brain with 1.1 × 1.1 × 3 mm voxel size was achieved within 15 minutes, and only incurred a small g-factor penalty (g /g = 1.05/1.16).
CONCLUSION: Whole-brain ViSTa images were obtained within 15 minutes with negligible g-factor penalty by using wave-CAIPI acquisition and zero-padding reconstruction. The proposed zero-padding method was shown to be effective in reducing residual point spread function for wave-encoded images, particularly for ViSTa.
PURPOSE: Whole-brain high-resolution quantitative imaging is extremely encoding intensive, and its rapid and robust acquisition remains a challenge. Here we present a 3D MR fingerprinting (MRF) acquisition with a hybrid sliding-window (SW) and GRAPPA reconstruction strategy to obtain high-resolution T, T and proton density (PD) maps with whole brain coverage in a clinically feasible timeframe.
METHODS: 3D MRF data were acquired using a highly under-sampled stack-of-spirals trajectory with a steady-state precession (FISP) sequence. For data reconstruction, k-k under-sampling was mitigated using SW combination along the temporal axis. Non-uniform fast Fourier transform (NUFFT) was then applied to create Cartesian k-space data that are fully-sampled in the in-plane direction, and Cartesian GRAPPA was performed to resolve k under-sampling to create an alias-free SW dataset. T, T and PD maps were then obtained using dictionary matching.
RESULTS: Phantom study demonstrated that the proposed 3D-MRF acquisition/reconstruction method is able to produce quantitative maps that are consistent with conventional quantification techniques. Retrospectively under-sampled in vivo acquisition revealed that SW + GRAPPA substantially improves quantification accuracy over the current state-of-the-art accelerated 3D MRF. Prospectively under-sampled in vivo study showed that whole brain T, T and PD maps with 1 mm resolution could be obtained in 7.5 min.
CONCLUSIONS: 3D MRF stack-of-spirals acquisition with hybrid SW + GRAPPA reconstruction may provide a feasible approach for rapid, high-resolution quantitative whole-brain imaging.
Purpose To develop a clinically feasible whole-heart free-breathing diffusion-tensor (DT) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging approach with an imaging time of approximately 15 minutes to enable three-dimensional (3D) tractography. Materials and Methods The study was compliant with HIPAA and the institutional review board and required written consent from the participants. DT imaging was performed in seven healthy volunteers and three patients with pulmonary hypertension by using a stimulated echo sequence. Twelve contiguous short-axis sections and six four-chamber sections that covered the entire left ventricle were acquired by using simultaneous multisection (SMS) excitation with a blipped-controlled aliasing in parallel imaging readout. Rate 2 and rate 3 SMS excitation was defined as two and three times accelerated in the section axis, respectively. Breath-hold and free-breathing images with and without SMS acceleration were acquired. Diffusion-encoding directions were acquired sequentially, spatiotemporally registered, and retrospectively selected by using an entropy-based approach. Myofiber helix angle, mean diffusivity, fractional anisotropy, and 3D tractograms were analyzed by using paired t tests and analysis of variance. Results No significant differences (P > .63) were seen between breath-hold rate 3 SMS and free-breathing rate 2 SMS excitation in transmural myofiber helix angle, mean diffusivity (mean ± standard deviation, [0.89 ± 0.09] × 10 mm/sec vs [0.9 ± 0.09] × 10 mm/sec), or fractional anisotropy (0.43 ± 0.05 vs 0.42 ± 0.06). Three-dimensional tractograms of the left ventricle with no SMS and rate 2 and rate 3 SMS excitation were qualitatively similar. Conclusion Free-breathing DT imaging of the entire human heart can be performed in approximately 15 minutes without section gaps by using SMS excitation with a blipped-controlled aliasing in parallel imaging readout, followed by spatiotemporal registration and entropy-based retrospective image selection. This method may lead to clinical translation of whole-heart DT imaging, enabling broad application in patients with cardiac disease. RSNA, 2016 Online supplemental material is available for this article.
BACKGROUND: Animal fear conditioning studies have illuminated neuronal mechanisms of learned associations between sensory stimuli and fear responses. In rats, brief electrical stimulation of the infralimbic cortex has been shown to reduce conditioned freezing during recall of extinction memory. Here, we translated this finding to humans with magnetic resonance imaging-navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
METHODS: Subjects (N = 28) were aversively conditioned to two different cues (day 1). During extinction learning (day 2), TMS was paired with one of the conditioned cues but not the other. TMS parameters were similar to those used in rat infralimbic cortex: brief pulse trains (300 ms at 20 Hz) starting 100 ms after cue onset, total of four trains (28 TMS pulses). TMS was applied to one of two targets in the left frontal cortex, one functionally connected (target 1) and the other unconnected (target 2, control) with a human homologue of infralimbic cortex in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Skin conductance responses were used as an index of conditioned fear.
RESULTS: During extinction recall (day 3), the cue paired with TMS to target 1 showed significantly reduced skin conductance responses, whereas TMS to target 2 had no effect. Further, we built group-level maps that weighted TMS-induced electric fields and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging connectivity estimates with fear level. These maps revealed distinct cortical regions and large-scale networks associated with reduced versus increased fear.
CONCLUSIONS: The results showed that spatiotemporally focused TMS may enhance extinction learning and/or consolidation of extinction memory and suggested novel cortical areas and large-scale networks for targeting in future studies.