This grant, now in year 15, was originally entitled """"""""Loop Gap Resonator Coils for MRI and 31p Spectroscopy"""""""" and assigned to NCI. It has been reassigned to NIBIB and re-titled, with permission, """"""""fMRI Technology and Analysis."""""""" The broad, long-term objective is to improve the quality of fMRI data including improved contrast-to-noise ratio, higher spatial resolution, increase of information content in the experiment, and improved temporal resolution. An experienced team brings a long history of fMRI biophysics to bear on three questions that are viewed as being of critical importance to neuroimaging of the brain using fMRI technology.
Aim 1 : We know that the brain never rests and that fluctuations in brain activity constitute the noise in fMRI experiments. How does performance of an fMRI task affect fluctuations in brain activity? Statistical methods are proposed to measure changing task performance during data acquisition. Three ways to separate task performance data from spontaneous fluctuations are proposed.
Aim 2 : We know that magnetic susceptibility of brain tissue itself, as well as tissue that is outside the field-of-view of an fMRI experiment, affects the data, both statically and, because of motion, dynamically. Can technology be developed that will correct these effects? Dynamic field maps and methods for real-time corrections of magnetic susceptibility effects are proposed. These methods rely on highspeed computers.
Aim 3 : The value to biomedical research of animal models is established, particularly rat models, but fMRI experiments on the rat have almost always been carried out under anesthesia, which compromises brain activity. Can we learn to carry out fMRI experiments on an awake and unstressed rat? Data will be collected continuously, but only fMRI data acquired during intervals that the animal is still will be used. The proposed method depends heavily on computer-based analysis. The applicants are convinced that fMRI is one of the great discoveries of modern biomedical research. Increasingly it has been found to yield critical insights into the role of the central nervous system in disease. Contributions to the underlying technological base of fMRI methodology will be of increasing significance for improved health care in future years as the methods enter clinical practice.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Research Project (R01)
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Diagnostic Imaging Study Section (DMG)
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Mclaughlin, Alan Charles
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Medical College of Wisconsin
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