This article describes experimental studies performed to demonstrate the feasibility of BOLD fMRI using echo-planar imaging (EPI) at 7 T and to characterize the BOLD response in humans at this ultrahigh magnetic field. Visual stimulation studies were performed in normal subjects using high-resolution multishot EPI sequences. Changes in R(*)(2) arising from visual stimulation were experimentally determined using fMRI measurements obtained at multiple echo times. The results obtained at 7 T were compared to those at 4 T. Experimental data indicate that fMRI can be reliably performed at 7 T and that at this field strength both the sensitivity and spatial specificity of the BOLD response are increased. This study suggests that ultrahigh field MR systems are advantageous for functional mapping in humans. Magn Reson Med 45:588-594, 2001.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.