Functional mapping of the human visual cortex at 4 and 1.5 tesla using deoxygenation contrast EPI



The effects of photic stimulation on the visual cortex of human brain were studied by means of gradient-echo echo-planar imaging (EPI). Whole-body 4 and 1.5 T MRI systems, equipped with a small z axis head gradient coil, were used. Variations of image intensity of up to 28% at 4 T, and up to 7% at 1.5 T, were observed in primary visual cortex, corresponding to an increase of blood oxygenation in regions of increased neural activity. The larger effects at 4 T are due to the increased importance of the susceptibility difference between deoxy-genated and oxygenated blood at high fields.