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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 234345, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/234345
Research Article

Evaluation of the Contribution of Signals Originating from Large Blood Vessels to Signals of Functionally Specific Brain Areas

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Health Sciences, Gachon University, 191 Hambakmoero, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon 406-799, Republic of Korea
2Neuroscience Research Institute, Gachon University, 774 Namdong-daero, Namdong-gu, Incheon 405-835, Republic of Korea
3Kansei Fukushi Research Institute, Tohoku Fukushi University, 6-149-1 Kunimigaoka, Aoba, Sendai 989-3201, Japan

Received 14 July 2014; Revised 5 September 2014; Accepted 19 September 2014

Academic Editor: Zhengchao Dong

Copyright © 2015 Jun-Young Chung et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The fusiform face area (FFA) is known to play a pivotal role in face processing. The FFA is located in the ventral region, at the base of the brain, through which large blood vessels run. The location of the FFA via functional MRI (fMRI) may be influenced by these large blood vessels. Responses of large blood vessels may not exactly correspond to neuronal activity in a target area, because they may be diluted and influenced by inflow effects. In this study, we investigated the effects of large blood vessels in the FFA, that is, whether the FFA includes large blood vessels and/or whether inflow signals contribute to fMRI signals of the FFA. For this purpose, we used susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) sequences to visualize large blood vessels and dual-echo gradient-echo echo-planar imaging (GE-EPI) to measure inflow effects. These results showed that the location and response signals of the FFA were not influenced by large blood vessels or inflow effects, although large blood vessels were located near the FFA. Therefore, the data from the FFA obtained by individual analysis were robust to large blood vessels but leaving a warning that the data obtained by group analysis may be prone to large blood vessels.