Spinal Cord fMRI

Paul E. Summers, Jonathan C.W. Brooks, Julien Cohen-Adad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Citations (Scopus)


Blood oxygenation level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD fMRI) is widely used by the neuroimaging community for studies of the brain, but remains controversial in the spinal cord despite demonstrations of technical feasibility. As yet the majority of motor studies have focussed on hand movement or finger tapping, while painful and non painful thermal, brushing and electrical stimuli have been used in sensory studies. These studies face challenges relating to the location and anatomy of the spinal cord, magnetic field inhomogeneities, motion, reduced receiver coil sensitivity relative to the brain, and even a lack of tailored tools for the post-processing chain. Overcoming these obstacles have been a major topic for activity in the field, with advanced shimming techniques, refined sequences, enhanced coil designs and tools for co-registration and physiological noise reduction emerging to address various issues. Those looking to undertake spinal fMRI should perform a careful preliminary investigation in order to appropriately design their study for robust results, some guidance on which is provided in this chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuantitative MRI of the Spinal Cord
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780123969736
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • BOLD
  • FMRI
  • Motor
  • Sensory
  • Spinal cord

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