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Mar 18, 2019
Studies of task-evoked brain activity are the cornerstone of cognitive neuroscience, and unravel the spatial and temporal brain dynamics of cognition in health and disease. Blood oxygenation level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD-fMRI) is one of the most common methods of studying brain function in humans. BOLD-fMRI indirectly infers neuronal activity from regional changes in blood oxygenation and is not a quantitative metric of brain function. Regional variation in glucose metabolism, measured using [18-F] fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET), provides a more direct and interpretable measure of neuronal activity. However, while the temporal resolution of BOLD-fMRI is in the order of seconds, standard FDG-PET protocols provide a static snapshot of glucose metabolism. Here, we develop a novel experimental design for measurement of task-evoked changes in regional blood oxygenation and glucose metabolism with high temporal resolution. Over a 90-min simultaneous BOLD-fMRI/FDG-PET scan, [18F] FDG was constantly infused to 10 healthy volunteers, who viewed a flickering checkerboard presented in a hierarchical block design. Dynamic task-related changes in blood oxygenation and glucose metabolism were examined with temporal resolution of 2.5sec and 1-min, respectively. Task-related, temporally coherent brain networks of haemodynamic and metabolic connectivity were jointly coupled in the visual cortex, as expected. Results demonstrate that the hierarchical block design, together with the infusion FDG-PET technique, enabled both modalities to track task-related neural responses with high temporal resolution. The simultaneous MR-PET approach has the potential to provide unique insights into the dynamic haemodynamic and metabolic interactions that underlie cognition in health and disease.

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