Dynamic Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Cerebral Blood Flow Using Arterial Spin Labeling

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Modern functional neuroimaging techniques, including positron emission tomography, optical imaging of intrinsic signals, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) rely on a tight coupling between neural activity and cerebral blood flow (CBF) to visualize brain activity using CBF as a surrogate marker. Because the spatial and temporal resolution of neuroimaging modalities is ultimately determined by the spatial and temporal specificity of the underlying hemodynamic signals, characterization of the spatial and temporal profiles of the hemodynamic response to focal brain stimulation is of paramount importance for the correct interpretation and quantification of functional data. The ability to properly measure and quantify CBF with MRI is a major determinant of progress in our understanding of brain function. We review the dynamic arterial spin labeling (DASL) method to measure CBF and the CBF functional response with high temporal resolution.