Education, tips and tricks to help you conduct better fMRI experiments.
Sure, you can try to fix it during data processing, but you're usually better off fixing the acquisition!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Administrative Post: 19 April, 2011 (2/2)

Siemens users may be interested in a user training guide & FAQ that we use at Berkeley to initiate newbies into the ways of the dark side. (Using the Force is often the only way to get an fMRI experiment to work. What, you thought the f stood for functional? Ha!)

The guide is a bit rough - sorry for English-isms and typos - is updated fairly regularly based on popular misconceptions and the like, and is worth exactly what you pay for it. It's free. Use and abuse it however you like. It's a Word document so that you can reorder things, add your own notes, etc. I would appreciate constructive feedback, especially if you find mistakes or have suggestions to improve it, but there's no need to ask permission to use it, change it, replicate it, sell it...

The most recent version of the training guide/FAQ is available from this web page:

Locate the file attachment towards the bottom of the page, it's called 3T_user_training_FAQ_19April2011.doc. The most recent contents appears below.

Caveat emptor.

The document is only a component of user training, don't expect to learn how to scan by reading it! Rather, use the tips to extend your understanding, refine your experimental technique and so on. Note also that this document is for a Siemens TIM/Trio (with 32 receive channels) and running software VB15. There may be subtle or not-so-subtle differences for the Verio and Skyra platforms, for software VB17, VD11, etc. so keep your wits about you if you're not on a Trio with VB15!

You may have local differences, e.g. custom pulse sequences, that allow you to do things that contradict what you find in this user guide. Talk to your physicist and your local user group before taking anything you find in this guide/FAQ too literally.

Finally, you wont find many (any?) references in this guide/FAQ. It's for the training of newbies, not a comprehensive literature review! If you are seeking further information on something I mention in the guide and you can't find a suitable reference yourself, shoot me an email and I'll do my best to point you in a useful direction.


User guide/FAQ contents (as of 19 April, 2011):

Administrative Post: 19 April, 2011 (1/2)

I have renamed the three posts entitled "Diagnosing artifacts in fMRI data: Part x" to be "Physics for understanding fMRI artifacts: Part x." I am developing new posts in the series and through post seven at least the content is all quite theoretical; I'm not actually discussing artifacts or showing data! (But don't worry, I'm limiting the content to the essential concepts required to understand and differentiate fMRI artifacts. It's not going to be an entire MRI physics course!)

Once I've concluded this background series of physics posts (there are another eight or nine posts to come) I'll start a new series that will be entitled something suitable for actual artifact recognition (with data!), along the lines of the original title of the series. Hopefully this re-categorization will allow future readers to establish suitable paths through the posts, when a strictly chronological path probably won't be the best one.