This study discusses the development of a computer-generated phantom to compare the effects of image realignment programs on functional MRI (fMRI) pixel activation. The phantom is a whole-head MRI volume with added random noise, activation, and motion. It allows simulation of realistic head motions with controlled areas of activation. Without motion, the phantom shows the effects of realignment on motion-free data sets. Prior to realignment, the phantom illustrates some activation corruption due to motion. Finally, three widely used realignment packages are examined. The results showed that the most accurate algorithms are able to increase specificity through accurate realignment while maintaining sensitivity through effective resampling techniques. In fact, accurate realignment alone is not a powerful indicator of the most effective algorithm in terms of true activation.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.