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Active head motion reduction in magnetic resonance imaging using tactile feedback

Publication year 2019
Published in Human Brain Mapping
Authors Florian Krause, Caroline Benjamins, Judith Eck, Michael Lührs, Rick van Hoof, R. Goebel

Head motion is a common problem in clinical as well as empirical (functional) magnetic resonance imaging applications, as it can lead to severe artefacts that reduce image quality. The scanned individuals themselves, however, are often not aware of their head motion. The current study explored whether providing subjects with this information using tactile feedback would reduce their head motion and consequently improve image quality. In a single session that included six runs, 24 participants performed three different cognitive tasks: (a) passive viewing, (b) mental imagery, and (c) speeded responses. These tasks occurred in two different conditions: (a) with a strip of medical tape applied from one side of the magnetic resonance head coil, via the participant’s forehead, to the other side, and (b) without the medical tape being applied. Results revealed that application of medical tape to the forehead of subjects to provide tactile feedback significantly reduced both translational as well as rotational head motion. While this effect did not differ between the three cognitive tasks, there was a negative quadratic relationship between head motion with and without feedback. That is, the more head motion a subject produced without feedback, the stronger the motion reduction given the feedback. In conclusion, the here tested method provides a simple and cost-efficient way to reduce subjects’ head motion, and might be especially beneficial when extensive head motion is expected a priori.

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