Statistical Impacts of Image Acquisition Protocols

We analyze study design, image acquisition, and image processing in neuroimaging studies to improve our understanding of brain function. Modern MRI acquisition methods increase spatial and temporal resolution in fMRI and result in denser sampling of q-space in diffusion MRI. Multiband acquisition, also called simultaneous multi-slice, decreases image acquisition time, but it also causes noise amplification. We examined the effect of multiband acquisition on estimates of functional connectivity, with an emphasis on estimating connections in subcortical areas that play an important role in psychiatry and neurology. Multiband leads to large decreases in measures of functional connectivity in subcortical regions. We found single-band with 3.3 mm voxels could lead to large increases in statistical power in subcortical regions relative to 2 mm multiband acquisitions. For whole brain studies, we recommend multiband factor 4. We continue to investigate the impact of different acquisition protocols in neuroimaging, including protocols used in diffusion MRI and MR spectroscopy.