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Short-term apparent brain tissue changes are contributed by cerebral blood flow alterations.


Structural MRI (sMRI)-identified tissue "growth" after neuropsychological training has been reported in many studies but the origins of those apparent tissue changes (ATC) still remain elusive. One possible contributor to ATC is brain perfusion since T1-weighted MRI, the tool used to identify ATC, is sensitive to perfusion-change induced tissue T1 alterations. To test the hypothetical perfusion contribution to ATC, sMRI data were acquired before and after short-term global and regional perfusion manipulations via intaking a 200 mg caffeine pill and performing a sensorimotor task. Caffeine intake caused a global CBF reduction and apparent tissue density reduction in temporal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and the limbic area; sensorimotor task induced CBF increase and apparent tissue increase in spatially overlapped brain regions. After compensating CBF alterations through a voxel-wise regression, the ATC patterns demonstrated in both experiments were substantially suppressed. These data clearly proved existence of the perfusion contribution to short-term ATC, and suggested a need for correcting perfusion changes in longitudinal T1-weighted structural MRI analysis if a short-term design is used.

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