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Does higher sampling rate (multiband + SENSE) improve group statistics – An example from social neuroscience block design at 3T

Research group Gazzola
Publication year 2020
Published in NeuroImage
Authors Ritu Bhandari, Evgeniya Kirilina, M. Caan, J. Suttrup, Teresa De Sanctis, Lorenzo De Angelis, Christian Keysers, V. Gazzola

Multiband (MB) or Simultaneous multi-slice (SMS) acquisition schemes allow the acquisition of MRI signals from more than one spatial coordinate at a time. Commercial availability has brought this technique within the reach of many neuroscientists and psychologists. Most early evaluation of the performance of MB acquisition employed resting state fMRI or the most basic tasks. In this study, we tested whether the advantages of using MB acquisition schemes generalize to group analyses using a cognitive task more representative of typical cognitive neuroscience applications. Twenty-three subjects were scanned on a Philips 3 T scanner using five sequences up to eight-fold acceleration with MB-factors 1 to 4, SENSE factors up to 2 and corresponding TRs of 2.45s down to 0.63s, while they viewed (i) movie blocks showing complex actions with hand object interactions and (ii) control movie blocks without hand object interaction. Data were processed using a widely used analysis pipeline implemented in SPM12 including the unified segmentation and canonical HRF modelling. Using random effects group-level, voxel-wise analysis we found that all sequences were able to detect the basic action observation network known to be recruited by our task. The highest t-values were found for sequences with MB4 acceleration. For the MB1 sequence, a 50% bigger voxel volume was needed to reach comparable t-statistics. The group-level t-values for resting state networks (RSNs) were also highest for MB4 sequences. Here the MB1 sequence with larger voxel size did not perform comparable to the MB4 sequence. Altogether, we can thus recommend the use of MB4 (and SENSE 1.5 or 2) on a Philips scanner when aiming to perform group-level analyses using cognitive block design fMRI tasks and voxel sizes in the range of cortical thickness (e.g. 2.7 mm isotropic). While results will not be dramatically changed by the use of multiband, our results suggest that MB will bring a moderate but significant benefit.

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