Publication Date



Human Brain Mapping


The hemodynamic response function (HRF) measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging is generated by vascular and metabolic responses evoked by brief (<4 s) stimuli. It is known that the human HRF varies across cortex, between subjects, with stimulus paradigms, and even between different measurements in the same cortical location. However, our results demonstrate that strong HRFs are remarkably repeatable across sessions separated by time intervals up to 3 months. In this study, a multisensory stimulus was used to activate and measure the HRF across the majority of cortex (>70%, with lesser reliability observed in some areas of prefrontal cortex). HRFs were measured with high spatial resolution (2‐mm voxels) in central gray matter to minimize variations caused by partial‐volume effects. HRF amplitudes and temporal dynamics were highly repeatable across four sessions in 20 subjects. Positive and negative HRFs were consistently observed across sessions and subjects. Negative HRFs were generally weaker and, thus, more variable than positive HRFs. Statistical measurements showed that across‐session variability is highly correlated to the variability across events within a session; these measurements also indicated a normal distribution of variability across cortex. The overall repeatability of the HRFs over long time scales generally supports the long‐term use of event‐related functional magnetic resonance imaging protocols.


BOLD fMRI, cerebral hemodynamics, longitudinal, multisensory stimulation, temporal dynamics

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