Functional MRI of the human brain: predominance of signals from extracerebral veins

Neuroreport. 1994 Mar 21;5(7):813-6. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199403000-00019.


This study demonstrates the predominance of extracerebral vascular signals in gradient-echo functional magnetic resonance imaging of motor activity at 1.5 Tesla. The demonstration is based upon a novel experimental approach. Maximum intensity projection images are derived from a large set of contiguous 2D functional MR images, and compared with MR angiograms obtained from the volume covered by the set of functional MR images. The comparison shows that the hyperintensities in the functional MR images cover extensive areas, which can be superimposed with a number of veins in the MR angiograms. These results should trigger a general caution in interpretation of the observations in 1.5 Tesla functional MRI.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / blood supply*
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Veins / anatomy & histology