[en] In functional MRI, magnetic field inhomogeneities due to air-tissue susceptibility differences may lead to severe signal dropouts and geometric distortions in echo-planar images. Therefore, the inhomogeneities in the field are routinely minimized by shimming prior to imaging. However in fMRI, the Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) effect is the measure of interest, so the BOLD sensitivity (BS) should be optimized rather than the magnetic field homogeneity. The analytical expression for an estimate of the BOLD sensitivity has been recently developed, allowing for the computation of BOLD sensitivity maps from echo-planar images and field maps. This report describes a novel shimming procedure that optimizes the local BOLD sensitivity over a region of interest. The method is applied in vivo and compared to a standard global shimming procedure. A breath-holding experiment was carried out and demonstrated that the BS-based shimming significantly improved the detection of activation in a target region of interest, the medial orbitofrontal cortex.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Wellcome Trust