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      Inter-slice leakage and intra-slice aliasing in simultaneous multi-slice echo-planar images

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          Simultaneous multi-slice (SMS) imaging is a popular technique for increasing acquisition speed in echo-planar imaging (EPI) fMRI. However, SMS data are prone to motion sensitivity and slice leakage artefacts, which spread signal between simultaneously acquired slices. Relevant to motion sensitivity, artefacts from moving anatomic structures propagate along the phase-encoding (PE) direction. This is particularly relevant for eye movement. As signal from the eye is acquired along with signal from simultaneously excited slices during SMS, there is potential for signal to spread in-plane and between spatially remote slices. After identifying an artefact temporally coinciding with signal fluctuations in the eye and spatially distributed in correspondence with multiband slice acceleration and parallel imaging factors, we conducted a series of small experiments to investigate eye movement artefacts in SMS data and the contribution of PE direction to the invasiveness of these artefacts. Five healthy adult volunteers were scanned during a blinking task using a standard SMS-EPI protocol with posterior-to-anterior ( P ≫  A), anterior-to-posterior ( A ≫  P) or right-to-left ( R ≫  L) PE direction. The intensity of signal fluctuations (artefact severity) was measured at expected artefact positions and control positions. We demonstrated a direct relationship between eye movements and artefact severity across expected artefact regions. Within-brain artefacts were apparent in P ≫  A- and A ≫  P-acquired data but not in R ≫  L data due to the shift in artefact positions. Further research into eye motion artefacts in SMS data is warranted but researchers should exercise caution with SMS protocols. We recommend rigorous piloting of SMS protocols and switching to R ≫  L/ L ≫  R PE where feasible.

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          Most cited references 3

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          Use of multicoil arrays for separation of signal from multiple slices simultaneously excited.

          Increased acquisition efficiency has been achieved by exciting several slices simultaneously. The mixed data were unfolded to produce separate slices using the spatial encoding information inherent in a multicoil receiver system. Each coil yields a linear combination of signals from all excited slices weighted by the sensitivity of each coil. A matrix inversion provides a solution to unfold these images.
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            Suppression of physiological eye movement artifacts in functional MRI using slab presaturation

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              Effect of phase-encoding direction on group analysis of resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging: Phase-encoding direction affects rsfMRI


                Author and article information

                Brain Struct Funct
                Brain Struct Funct
                Brain Structure & Function
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                5 March 2020
                5 March 2020
                : 225
                : 3
                : 1153-1158
                [1 ]GRID grid.9435.b, ISNI 0000 0004 0457 9566, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, , University of Reading, ; Harry Pitt Building, Earley Gate, Reading, RG6 7BE UK
                [2 ]GRID grid.9435.b, ISNI 0000 0004 0457 9566, Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, , University of Reading, Earley Gate, ; Reading, RG6 7BE UK
                [3 ]GRID grid.9435.b, ISNI 0000 0004 0457 9566, Technical Support, , University of Reading, ; Reading, UK
                [4 ]GRID grid.416629.e, ISNI 0000 0004 0377 2137, Research Institute, Kochi University of Technology, ; Kami, Kochi Japan
                [5 ]GRID grid.1027.4, ISNI 0000 0004 0409 2862, School of Health Sciences, , Swinburne University of Technology, ; Hawthorn, VIC 3122 Australia
                © The Author(s) 2020

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

                Funded by: McGuigan Early Career Investigator Prize
                Funded by: FundRef, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science;
                Award ID: 15H05401, 16H06406, and 18H01102
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef, Leverhulme Trust;
                Award ID: RPG-2016-146 and RL-2016-030
                Award Recipient :
                Short Communication
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                © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020


                slice leakage, fmri, artefact, eye blink, multiband, phase-encoding direction


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