Effect of Phase-Encoding Reduction on Geometric Distortion and BOLD Signal Changes in fMRI

Document Type : Original Paper


1 Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Neuroimaging and Analysis group, Research Center of Molecular and Cellular Imaging, Tehran university of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 School of Para Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Radiology, School of Para Medicine, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran


Echo-planar imaging (EPI) is a group of fast data acquisition methods commonly used in fMRI studies. It acquires multiple image lines in k-space after a single excitation, which leads to a very short scan time. A well-known problem with EPI is that it is more sensitive to distortions due to the used encoding scheme. Source of distortion is inhomogeneity in the static B0 field that causes more geometric distortion in phase encoding direction. This inhomogeneity is induced mainly by the magnetic susceptibility differences between various structures within the object placed inside the scanner, often at air-tissue or bone-tissue interfaces. Methods of reducing EPI distortion are mainly based on decreasing steps of the phase encoding. Reducing steps of phase encoding can be applied by reducing field of view, slice thickness, and/or the use of parallel acquisition technique.
Materials and Methods
We obtained three data acquisitions with different FOVs including: conventional low resolution, conventional high resolution, and zoomed high resolution EPIs. Moreover we used SENSE technique for phase encoding reduction. All experiments were carried out on three Tesla scanners (Siemens, TIM, and Germany) equipped with 12 channel head coil. Ten subjects participated in the experiments.
The data were processed by FSL software and were evaluated by ANOVA. Distortion was assessed by obtaining low displacement voxels map, and calculated from a field map image.
We showed that image distortion can be reduced by decreasing slice thickness and phase encoding steps. Distortion reduction in zoomed technique resulted the lowest level, but at the cost of signal-to-noise loss. Moreover, the SENSE technique was shown to decrease the amount of image distortion, efficiently.


Main Subjects