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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-11122

Morawetz, C; Holz, P; Lange, C; Baudewig, J; Weniger, G; Irle, E; Dechent, P (2008). Improved functional mapping of the human amygdala using a standard functional magnetic resonance imaging sequence with simple modifications. Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 26(1):45-53.

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As the amygdala is involved in various aspects of emotional processing, its characterization using neuroimaging modalities, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), is of great interest. However, in fMRI, the amygdala region suffers from susceptibility artifacts that are composed of signal dropouts and image distortions. Various technically demanding approaches to reduce these artifacts have been proposed, and most require alterations beyond a mere change of the acquisition parameters and cannot be easily implemented by the user without changing the MR sequence code. In the present study, we therefore evaluated the impact of simple alterations of the acquisition parameters of a standard gradient-echo echo-planar imaging technique at 3 T composed of echo times (TEs) of 27 and 36 ms as well as section thicknesses of 2 and 4 mm while retaining a section orientation parallel to the intercommissural plane and an in-plane resolution of 2x2 mm(2). In contrast to previous studies, we based our evaluation on the resulting activation maps using an emotional stimulation paradigm rather than on MR raw image quality only. Furthermore, we tested the effects of spatial smoothing of the functional raw data in the course of postprocessing using spatial filters of 4 and 8 mm. Regarding MR raw image quality, a TE of 27 ms and 2-mm sections resulted in the least susceptibility artifacts in the anteromedial aspect of the temporal lobe. The emotional stimulation paradigm resulted in robust bilateral amygdala activation for the approaches with 2-mm sections only -- but with larger activation volumes for a TE of 36 ms as compared with that of 27 ms. Moderate smoothing with a 4-mm spatial filter represented a good compromise between increased sensitivity and preserved specificity. In summary, we showed that rather than applying advanced modifications of the MR sequence, a simple increase in spatial resolution (i.e., the reduction of section thickness) is sufficient to improve the detectability of amygdala activation.


22 citations in Web of Science®
25 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Clinical and Social Psychiatry Zurich West (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Deposited On:23 Jan 2009 12:30
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:52
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.mri.2007.04.014
PubMed ID:17574366

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