MR imaging techniques capable to provide maps of cerebral activity. All these techniques are based on indirect assessment of local cerebral haemodynamics that have been demonstrated to be closely related to cerebral activity.
Two kinds of techniques have been developed:
Velocity of flowing blood, usually measured in cm/s. It is always zero at the vessel wall and the velocity profile across a vessel can have various shapes depending upon the type of flow being observed. Laminar flow giving rise to a laminar velocity profile, plug flow giving rise to a flat velocity profile and disturbed flow can be distinguished.
Flow effects in MRI produce a range of artifacts, e.g. intravascular signal void by time of flight effects; turbulent dephasing and first echodephasing, caused by flowing blood.
Through movement of the hydrogen nuclei (e.g. blood flow), there is a location change between the time these nuclei experience a radio frequency pulse and the time the emitted signal is received (because the repetition time is asynchronous with the pulsatile flow).
The blood flow occasionally produces intravascular high signal intensities due to flow related enhancement, even echo rephasing and diastolic pseudogating. The pulsatile laminar flow within vessels often produces a complex multilayered band that usually propagates outside the head in the phase encoded direction. Blood flow artifacts should be considered as a special subgroup of motion artifacts.
(ASL) A MR image can be sensitized to the effect of inflowing blood spins if those spins are in a different magnetic state to that of the static tissue. Techniques known as ASL techniques uses this idea by magnetically labeling blood flowing into the slices of interest. Contrast agents are not required for these techniques. This perfusion measurement is completely noninvasive. Blood flowing into the imaging slice exchanges with tissue water, altering the tissue magnetization. A perfusion-weighted image can be generated by the subtraction of an image in which inflowing spins have been labeled from an image in which spin labeling has not been performed.
Quantitative perfusion maps can be calculated if other parameters (such as tissue T1 and the efficiency of spin labeling) also are measured.