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fMRI data on computer screen.

Biomedical Imaging Unit took part in creating new international practices for pre-clinical functional MRI

Functional MRI (fMRI) is the only imaging modality that can provide high spatial and temporal resolution with whole brain coverage.  It is utilised for mapping network activity in the brain, elucidating neurological disease mechanisms and, in the future, also likely improving diagnostics.

The Biomedical Imaging Unit at A. I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland has played a key role in a consortium creating new best practices for pre-clinical fMRI. In the first part of the study, 46 research groups from all over the world provided fMRI data with their existing fMRI protocols. In the second part, a new consensus protocol was created, and 20 groups provided new fMRI data using it. The new protocol provided remarkably better and more reproducible fMRI data, and in the future, it can be used, for example, to form a basis for multi-centre studies.

“We are proud to be able to influence how fMRI data is collected in pre-clinical settings, all over the world, in the future. We contributed not just to data collection but also to setting up the parameters for the new protocol. There is a big trend towards large data sets that are collected in different research sites, also within the pre-clinical imaging community, and therefore this work is very important for the development of the field,” says Professor Olli Gröhn, whose research group participated in the study.

The study was published in Nature Neuroscience.

For further information, please contact:

Professor Olli Gröhn

Project Researcher Jaakko Paasonen       

Research article:

Grandjean, J., Desrosiers-Gregoire, G., Anckaerts, C. et al. A consensus protocol for functional connectivity analysis in the rat brain. Nat Neurosci (2023).