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Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) contrast imaging of human brain function using echo-planar imaging at 4 T gives good freedom from motion artifact, high signal-to-noise ratio/unit time, and adequate spatial resolution. Studies were made of brain activation associated with perceptual and cognitive tasks of several minutes duration. Several cortical areas show task-dependent activity consistent across subjects, in images with a spatial resolution of 2.5 mm×2.5 mm×5 mm and a temporal resolution of up to 1 s. Multislice data were obtained at a rate of up to five slices per second. At 4 T, fractional changes of magnetic resonance (MR) image intensity up to 25% were observed. Novel cross-correlation methods, including the effect of the temporal point-spread function associated with the relatively slow hemodynamic response of the brain, allow activation maps of the brain to be generated with statistically meaningful thresholds. With appropriate data analysis, it is clear that oxygenation changes in large draining veins distant from active neural tissue do not dominate the changes observed, especially when brain tasks activating only a limited volume of gray matter are chosen. This is consistent with downstream dilution of blood oxygenation changes and direct optical observations of functional brain activity in animals. © 1994 Chapman & Hall.

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Conference paper

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147 - 156