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MRI Scanner and Suite

The MRI unit consists of a Siemens Medical Solutions (Malvern, PA) 3.0 Tesla Trio MRI scanner, a full body scanner (60 cm bore) with Sonata gradient set (gradient amplitude of 40mT/m, maximum slew rate of 200T/m/sec, minimum gradient rise time of 200 microseconds).  The system is actively shielded and is equipped with 32 RF channels and the total imaging matrix (TIM) suite.  Multiple coils are available for the systems, including a 12 channel head matrix coil, 8 channel head coil, 4 channel carotid coil and a 24 channel spine coil. It runs the latest Siemens VB17 software and has a number of advanced Siemens product sequences including SWI, BLADE, Diffusion Tensor Imaging & Tractography, Auto Align feature for reproducible slice positioning based on a 3D MR brain atlas, BOLD imaging and in-line analysis suite with 3D PACE realtime motion correction and single and multi-voxel spectroscopy.

Stimulus/response controls for behavioral tasks concurrent with fMRI are supported by an array of hardware specifically designed to allow investigator flexibility and precision. Visual presentation is provided by a high resolution LCD projection system (1400x1050 SXGA, 4200 lumens, 1300:1 contrast ratio) delivered from the back of the suite onto a custom fit screen mounted within the bore behind the participants head. Audio presentation is provided by an Avotec Silent Scan 3100 that has been calibrated to maintain sound pressure levels that are dependent directly on input (flat frequency response +/- 4dB, 200-4500Hz range). A fiber-optic ergonomic bilateral button response system from Psychology Software Tools exists, as well as a control unit to support custom response shapes (joysticks, steering wheels, wands) from Current Designs. All of the hardware is connected through a single switch that signals TTL trigger pulses and allows connectivity to an investigators laptop with any non-proprietary connections (USB, 1/8” minijack audio, VGA & DVI). A dedicated stimulus and response monitoring computer running Eprime 2.0 and Presentation stimulus programming software also exists.