15 Years MR-encephalography

MAGMA. 2021 Feb;34(1):85-108. doi: 10.1007/s10334-020-00891-z. Epub 2020 Oct 20.


Objective: This review article gives an account of the development of the MR-encephalography (MREG) method, which started as a mere 'Gedankenexperiment' in 2005 and gradually developed into a method for ultrafast measurement of physiological activities in the brain. After going through different approaches covering k-space with radial, rosette, and concentric shell trajectories we have settled on a stack-of-spiral trajectory, which allows full brain coverage with (nominal) 3 mm isotropic resolution in 100 ms. The very high acceleration factor is facilitated by the near-isotropic k-space coverage, which allows high acceleration in all three spatial dimensions.

Methods: The methodological section covers the basic sequence design as well as recent advances in image reconstruction including the targeted reconstruction, which allows real-time feedback applications, and-most recently-the time-domain principal component reconstruction (tPCR), which applies a principal component analysis of the acquired time domain data as a sparsifying transformation to improve reconstruction speed as well as quality.

Applications: Although the BOLD-response is rather slow, the high speed acquisition of MREG allows separation of BOLD-effects from cardiac and breathing related pulsatility. The increased sensitivity enables direct detection of the dynamic variability of resting state networks as well as localization of single interictal events in epilepsy patients. A separate and highly intriguing application is aimed at the investigation of the glymphatic system by assessment of the spatiotemporal patterns of cardiac and breathing related pulsatility.

Discussion: MREG has been developed to push the speed limits of fMRI. Compared to multiband-EPI this allows considerably faster acquisition at the cost of reduced image quality and spatial resolution.

Keywords: Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Epilepsy
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Principal Component Analysis