Despite there being an increasing number of installations of ultra high field MR systems (>3T) in clinical environments, no functional patient investigations have yet examined possible benefits for functional diagnostics. Here we performed presurgical localization of the primary motor hand area on 3T and 7T Siemens scanners with identical investigational procedures and comparable system specific sequence optimizations. Results from 17 patients showed significantly higher functional sensitivity of the 7T system measured via percent signal change, mean t-values, number of suprathreshold voxels and contrast to noise ratio. On the other hand, 7T data suffered from a significant increase of artifacts (ghosting, head motion). We conclude that ultra high field systems provide a clinically relevant increase of functional sensitivity for patient investigations.
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