Fast gradient-echo magnetic resonance scan techniques with spiral and rectilinear (echoplanar) k-space trajectories were optimized to perform bolus-tracking studies of human brain. Cerebral hemodynamics were studied with full brain coverage, a spatial resolution of 4 mm, and a temporal resolution of 2 seconds. The sensitivity of the techniques to detect image signal-intensity changes during the first pass of the contrast agent was studied at a range of TEs using dedicated experiments. For single-shot versions of spiral scanning and echoplanar imaging techniques with a 0.1-mmol/kg injection of gadolinium diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid using a mechanical injector at 10 mL/sec under 1.5 T, the maximum sensitivity was obtained at TEs between 35 and 45 msec. At TEs less than 35 msec, signal-intensity artifacts were observed in the images. Analysis of the point-spread function revealed that susceptibility changes induced by the contrast agent can result in signal shifts to neighboring voxels. These artifacts are attributed to susceptibility-related signal changes during the acquisition window.