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PURPOSE: Blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) brain activity, measured using functional MRI (fMRI), is dependent on the echo time (TE) and the reversible spin-spin relaxation time constant ( T2*) that describes the decay of transverse magnetization. Use of the optimal TE during fMRI experiments allows maximal sensitivity to BOLD to be achieved. Reports that T2* values are longer in infants (due to higher water concentrations and lower lipid content) have led to the use of longer TEs during infant fMRI experiments; however, the optimal TE has not been established. METHODS: In this study, acute experimental mildly noxious stimuli were applied to the heel in 12 term infants (mean gestational age = 40 weeks, mean postnatal age = 3 days); and the percentage change in BOLD activity was calculated across a range of TEs, from 30 to 70 ms, at 3 Tesla. In addition, T2* maps of the whole brain were collected in seven infants. RESULTS: The maximal change in BOLD occurred at a TE of 52 ms, and the average T2* across the whole brain was 99 ms. CONCLUSION: A TE of approximately 50 ms is recommended for use in 3T fMRI investigations in term infants. Magn Reson Med 78:625-631, 2017. © 2016 The Authors Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Original publication




Journal article


Magn Reson Med

Publication Date





625 - 631


BOLD, T  2*, brain, echo time, imaging, infants, pain, Brain, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Physical Stimulation