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Optimizing near-silent fMRI for auditory stimuli.

Optimizing near-silent fMRI for auditory stimuli.

Optimizing near-silent fMRI for auditory stimuli.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a widely used imaging technique in human neuroscience. It provides crucial insights into cortical representations for perceptual processes, with unmatched spatial resolution compared to other neuroimaging techniques like electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). However, the magnetic field gradient coils in MRI scanners generate high levels of acoustic noise. Although the effects of this background noise are present in all fMRI studies, they are most problematic in auditory fMRI research. Our research proposes the use of Looping Star, which is a near-silent, multi-echo, 3D radial fMRI technique. Compared to traditional scanning techniques that have sound levels at 105-115 dBA, Looping Star sequences have noise levels at 67-72 dBA. Although this eliminates the confounding effect of loud scanner noise, this is a newly developed method that has poorer resolution and signal to noise ratios (SNR). We are collaborating with Dr. Douglas Noll at the University of Michigan to optimize the silent scanning paradigm using established cortical auditory phenomena as a first step.