ISMRM 24th Annual Meeting & Exhibition • 07-13 May 2016 • Singapore

Weekend Educational Course: Introduction to fMRI

Skill Level: Basic

Organizers: James Pekar, Ph.D. & Joshua Shimony, M.D., Ph.D.

Saturday 07 May 2016

This session will cover introductory topics in fMRI, including the basics of brain physiology and the origins of the fMRI signal, the effective design of fMRI paradigms, the analysis of fMRI data, and will provide an introduction to resting-state fMRI and wider applications of fMRI in basic and clinical neuroscience.

Target Audience
This course is intended for clinicians and basic science researchers, including MRI physicists, who wish to understand the fundamentals of functional MRI. This course does not assumes previous knowledge of fMRI.

Educational Objectives
Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the origins of the fMRI signal;
  • Describe the main data acquisition methods;
  • Design a robust paradigm for an fMRI study;
  • Understand the basic pre-processing steps required to avoid unwanted noise;
  • Construct and apply an appropriate data analysis model;
  • Understand how resting state fMRI can be used to examine networks in the brain; and
  • Provide examples of basic and clinical neuroscience applications of fMRI.

Moderator: James Pekar, Joshua Shimony
The Physiological Basis of the fMRI Signal
Clarisse I. Mark1
1Queen's University, Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
While BOLD fMRI represents an invaluable tool to map brain function, it does not measure neural activity directly; rather, it reflects changes in blood oxygenation resulting from the relative balance between cerebral oxygen metabolism (through neural activity) and oxygen supply (through cerebral blood flow and volume). As such, there are cases in which BOLD signals might be dissociated from neural activity, leading to misleading results. The emphasis of this course is to develop a critical perspective for interpreting BOLD results, through a comprehensive consideration of BOLD’s metabolic and vascular underpinnings.

Data Acquisition Considerations
Fa-Hsuan Lin1
1National Taiwan University
  • EPI favors high bandwidth acquisitions to reduce susceptibility artifacts.
  • fMRI acquisition methods critically depend on the targeted spatiotemporal resolution.
  • The spatiotemporal resolution of fMRI can be optimized by a combination of k-space trajectory design, receiver coil array, and reconstruction algorithm.
  • Sequences using spin-echo or gradient-echo, the echo time, and the flip angle can tune the sensitivity of fMRI acquisitions.
  • Physiological noise is a dominant noise source in high-field fMRI experiments.
  • Care must be taken to get the best shimming and to minimize motion as well as acoustic noise/vibration.

Paradigm Design
Jeroen C.W. Siero1
1Radiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
A presention on fMRI paradigm design for students and researchers with no or limited experience in setting up BOLD fMRI studies in terms of paradigm (task) design

Break & Meet the Teachers
Pre-Processing of fMRI Data
Stephen Strother1
1Rotman Research/Medical Biophysics, Baycrest/University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
The target audience is researchers and clinicians with limited to no experience with fMRI imaging. As a result of this presentation the audience will know (i) what fMRI pre-processing is, and why it is important, (ii) the basic pre-processing steps and software packages available for implementing them, (iii) how to choose pre-processing steps for different data sets and experimental paradigms, and (iv) about recent developments in automated optimization of pre-processing of fMRI data.

Analyzing Data Using the General Linear Model
Lars Kasper1,2
1Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 2Translational Neuromodeling Unit, IBT, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
The general linear model (GLM) is the most common framework for analyzing task-based fMRI data. In this talk, we motivate its use from the precarious contrast-to-noise situation of fMRI, which requires not only modeling (or fitting) of experimental factors and confounds, but also statistical assessment of their significance in the presence of an irreducible noise floor. The presentation will feature analyses of simulated and measured fMRI data to highlight GLM parameter estimation as well as statistical inference (t-, F-tests) and its representation in Statistical Parametric Maps. Finally, limitations of the GLM and intricacies are discussed, e.g. correlated regressors or multiple comparison correction, to enable its proper use in practice.

Introduction to Resting-State fMRI & Functional Connectivity
Thomas Yeo1
1National University of SIngapore
In this education workshop, I will motivate the use of resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) and functional connectivity to study the human brain. I will also present example studies that use rs-fMRI as a tool to investigate brain organization, disorder and behavior. I will conclude with some existing challenges about rs-fMRI.

Example Applications of fMRI in Basic & Clinical Neuroscience - Permission Withheld
Kai-Hsiang Chuang1,2
1Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 2Centre for Advanced Imaging, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Both task-based and resting-state fMRI have been widely used to understand the functional organization of the brain. Both techniques have also been applied in patients for guiding neurosurgery, distinguishing disease phenotypes, supporting clinical management, and evaluating treatment response. Nonetheless, several technical and pathophysiological issues will need to be considered for clinical fMRI.

Adjournment & Meet the Teachers

The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for
Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.