The feasibility of functional MRI of the spinal cord was investigated by carrying out blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) imaging of the human cervical spinal cord at a field of 3 T. BOLD imaging of the cervical spinal cord showed an average intensity increase of 7.0% during repeated exercise with the dominant hand with a return to baseline during rest periods. The areas of activation were predominantly on the same side of the spinal cord as the hand performing the exercise, between the levels of the sixth cervical and first thoracic spinal cord segments. The direct correspondence between these areas and those involved with the transmission of motor impulses to the hand, and reception of sensory information from the hand, demonstrates that spinal functional magnetic resonance imaging is feasible. Magn Reson Med 42:571-576, 1999.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.