Effect of Wearing a Face Mask on fMRI BOLD Contrast.
International spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has prompted many MRI scanning facilities to require scan subjects to wear a facial covering ("mask") during scanning as a precaution against transmission of the virus. Because wearing a mask mixes expired air with the subject's inspired air stream, the concentration of inspired carbon dioxide [CO2] is elevated, resulting in mild hypercapnia. Changes in the inspired gas mixture have been demonstrated to alter R2*-weighted Blood Oxygen Dependent (BOLD) contrast. In this study, we investigate a potential for face masking to alter BOLD contrast during a sensory-motor task designed to activate visual, auditory, and sensorimotor cortices in 8 subjects. We utilize a nasal cannula to supply air to the subject wearing a surgical mask in on-off blocks of 90s to displace expired CO2, while the subject performs the sensory-motor task. While only a small fraction (2.5%) of the sensory-motor task activation is related to nasal air modulation, a 30.0% change in gray matter BOLD signal baseline is found due to air modulation. Repeating the scan with mask removed produces a small subject-specific bias in BOLD baseline signal from nasal air supply, which may be due to cognitive influence of airflow or cannula-induced hypoxia. Measurements with capnography demonstrate wearing a mask induces an average increase in ETCO2 of 7.4%. Altogether, these results demonstrate that wearing a face mask during gradient-echo fMRI can alter BOLD baseline signal but minimally affects task activation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.117752
View details for PubMedID 33460795
Imaging brain function with simultaneous BOLD and viscoelasticity contrast: fMRI/fMRE.
Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is emerging as a new tool for studying viscoelastic changes in the brain resulting from functional processes. Here, we demonstrate a novel time series method to generate robust functional magnetic resonance elastography (fMRE) activation maps in response to a visual task with a flashing checkerboard stimulus. Using a single-shot spin-echo (SS-SE) pulse sequence, the underlying raw images inherently contain blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) contrast, allowing simultaneous generation of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation maps from the magnitude and functional magnetic resonance elastography (fMRE) maps from the phase. This allows an accurate comparison of the spatially localized stiffness (fMRE) and BOLD (fMRI) changes within a single scan, eliminating confounds inherent in separately acquired scans. Results indicate that tissue stiffness within the visual cortex increases 6-11% with visual stimuli, whereas the BOLD signal change was 1-2%. Furthermore, the fMRE and fMRI activation maps have strong spatial overlap within the visual cortex, providing convincing evidence that fMRE is possible in the brain. However, the fMRE temporal SNR (tSNRfMRE) maps are heterogeneous across the brain. Using a dictionary matching approach to characterize the time series, the viscoelastic changes are consistent with a viscoelastic response function (VRF) time constant of 12.1 s ± 3.0 s for a first-order exponential decay, or a shape parameter of 8.1 s ± 1.4 s for a gamma-variate.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116592
View details for PubMedID 32014553