Recent applications of 7T in the study of human brain function and structure

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The recent increased availability of ultra-high-field (UHF) MRI has led to its application in a wide range of neuroimaging studies, which are showing promise in transforming fundamental approaches to human neuroscience.

This review paper presents work on structural and functional brain imaging, at 7 T and higher field strengths. In a collaboration between three different groups of researchers, we set out to collect all applied neuroimaging papers whose data was acquired at 7T and present a thorough overview of the state of the art.

After a short outline of the effects of high field strength on MR images, the rapidly expanding literature on UHF applications of blood-oxygenation-level-dependent-based functional MRI is reviewed. Structural imaging is then discussed, divided into sections on imaging weighted by relaxation time, including quantitative relaxation time mapping, phase imaging and quantitative susceptibility mapping, angiography, diffusion-weighted imaging, and finally magnetization transfer imaging. The final section discusses studies using the high spatial resolution available at UHF to identify explicit links between structure and function.

7T neuroimaging is a game changer for imaging neuroscience, because it enables the identification of functionality and connectivity with neural structure at a spatial scale much smaller than the cortical thickness.
This will allow unprecedented empirical modelling of brain networks, to bring together the detailed neuroscience accumulated over the last several decades using invasive animal models with the systems neuroscience that fMRI has done much to explore.

Citation: van der Zwaag W, Schäfer A, Marques JP, Turner R, Trampel R. Recent applications of UHF-MRI in the study of human brain function and structure: a review.

NMR Biomed. 2015 Mar 12. doi: 10.1002/nbm.3275.

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Dr. Wietske van der Zwaag