BOLD fMRI is hampered by dropout of signal in the orbitofrontal and parietal brain regions due to magnetic field gradients near air-tissue interfaces. This work reports the use of spiral-in trajectories that begin at the edge of k-space and end at the origin, and spiral in/out trajectories in which a spiral-in readout is followed by a conventional spiral-out trajectory. The spiral-in trajectory reduces the dropout and increases the BOLD contrast. The spiral-in and spiral-out images can be combined in several ways to simultaneously achieve increased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and reduced dropout artifacts. Activation experiments employing an olfaction task demonstrate significantly increased activation volumes due to reduced dropout, and overall increased SNR in all regions. Magn Reson Med 46:515–522, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.