Subject motion during scanning can greatly reduce MRI image quality and is a major reason for discarding data in both clinical and research scanning. The quality of the high-resolution structural data used for morphometric analysis is especially compromised by subject movement because high-resolution scans are of longer duration. A method is presented that measures and corrects rigid body motion and associated first-order shim changes in real time, using a pulse sequence with embedded cloverleaf navigators and a feedback control mechanism. The procedure requires a 12-s preliminary mapping scan. A single-path, 4.2-ms cloverleaf navigator is inserted every repetition time (TR) after the readout of a 3D fast low-angle shot (FLASH) sequence, requiring no additional RF pulses and minimally impacting scan duration. Every TR, a rigid body motion estimate is made and a correction is fed back to adjust the gradients and shim offsets. Images are corrected and reconstructed on the scanner computer for immediate access. Correction for between-scan motion can be accomplished by using the same reference map for each scan repetition. Human and phantom tests demonstrated a consistent improvement in image quality if motion occurred during the acquisition.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.