An investigation of the value of spin-echo-based fMRI using a stroop color-word matching task and EPI at 3 T

David G. Norris, Stefan Zysset, Toralf Mildner, Christopher J. Wiggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the value of spin-echo-based fMRI for cognitive studies at the main magnetic field strength of 3 T using a spin-echo EPI (SE-EPI) sequence and a Stroop color-word matching task. SE-EPI has the potential advantage over conventional gradient-echo EPI (GE-EPI) that signal losses caused by dephasing through the slice are not present, and hence although image distortion will be the same as for an equivalent GE-EPI sequence, signal voids will be eliminated. The functional contrast in SE-EPI will be lower than for GE-EPI, as static dephasing effects do not contribute. As an auxiliary experiment inter-leaved diffusion-weighted and non-diffusion-weighted SE-EPI was performed in the visual cortex to further elucidate the mechanims of functional contrast. In the Stroop experiment activation was detected in all areas previously found using GE-EPI. Additional frontopolar and ventral frontomedian activations were also found, which could not be detected using GE-EPI. The experiments from visual cortex indicated that at 3 T the BOLD signal change has contributions from the extravascular space and larger blood vessels in roughly equal amounts. In comparison with GE-EPI the absence of static dephasing effects would seem to result in a superior intrinsic spatial resolution. In conclusion the sensitivity of SE-EPI at 3 T is sufficient to make it the method of choice for fMR studies that require a high degree of spatial localization or where the requirement is to detect activation in regions affected by strong susceptibility gradients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-726
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


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