Functional magnetic resonance imaging of the human lumbar spinal cord

Michael A. Moffitt, Brian M. Dale, Jeffrey L. Duerk, Warren M. Grill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether consistent regions of activity could be observed in the lumbar spinal cord of single subjects with spin-echo functional MRI (fMRI) if several repeated experiments were performed within a single imaging session. Materials and Methods: Repeated fMRI experiments of the human lumbar spinal cord were performed at 1.5 T with a single-shot spin-echo technique (half-Fourier single-shot turbo spin-echo (HASTE)) as used by previous Investigators, and a modified method (fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR)-HASTE) that nulled the otherwise highly variable signal from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Results: FLAIR-HASTE reduced the variability of the signal in the CSF region to background levels, and presumably reduced associated artifacts in the spinal cord. Consistent areas of activation in the spinal cord in response to a thermal stimulus just below the knee were not observed across the fMRI experiments with either method. Conclusion: FLAIR-HASTE was useful for removing artifact in the spinal cord signal induced by variability in the CSF signal. However, with the techniques used in this study, we were not able to confirm the presence of a consistent fMRI response in the lumbar spinal cord because of the signal enhancement by extravascular protons (SEEP) effect during thermal stimulation of the hindlimb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-535
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR)
  • Functional MRI
  • Lumbar
  • Pulse sequence
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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