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Keywords:

  • regularization;
  • VPR;
  • SNR;
  • L-curve;
  • SVD;
  • variance partitioning;
  • Tikhonov;
  • parallel MRI;
  • SENSE

Abstract

Multiple receivers can be utilized to enhance the spatiotemporal resolution of MRI by employing the parallel imaging technique. Previously, we have reported the L-curve Tikhonov regularization technique to mitigate noise amplification resulting from the geometrical correlations between channels in a coil array. Nevertheless, one major disadvantage of regularized image reconstruction is lengthy computational time in regularization parameter estimation. At a fixed noise level, L-curve regularization parameter estimation was also found not to be robust across repetitive measurements, particularly for low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) acquisitions. Here we report a computationally efficient and robust method to estimate the regularization parameter by partitioning the variance of the noise-whitened encoding matrix based on the estimated SNR of the aliased pixel set in parallel MRI data. The proposed Variance Partitioning Regularization (VPR) method can improve computational efficiency by 2–5-fold, depending on image matrix sizes and acceleration rates. Our anatomical and functional MRI results show that the VPR method can be applied to both static and dynamic MRI experiments to suppress noise amplification in parallel MRI reconstructions for improved image quality. Magn Reson Med 58:735–744, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.