Reviews from Neuroimage

1. The general linear model and fMRI: Does love last forever?
Poline JB, Brett M.

Neurospin, Bat. 145, CEA, Gif-sur-Yvette, 91191, France; Henry Wheeler Brain Imaging Center, 10 Giannini Hall, UC Berkeley Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

In this review, we first set out the general linear model (GLM) for the non technical reader, as a tool able to do both linear regression and ANOVA within the same flexible framework. We present a short history of its development in the fMRI community, and describe some interesting examples of its early use. We offer a few warnings, as the GLM relies on assumptions that may not hold in all situations. We conclude with a few wishes for the future of fMRI analyses, with or without the GLM. The appendix develops some aspects of use of contrasts for testing for the more technical reader.

2. Functional MRI: A confluence of fortunate circumstances.
Bandettini PA.

Functional MRI has existed for about twenty years and by almost all measures has been incredibly successful. What are the reasons behind this success? In this review, eight extremely fortunate circumstances came together to produce BOLD based fMRI as we know it today. They are as follows: 1. The MRI signal, 2. The MRI relaxation rates, 3. The oxygen-dependent magnetic susceptibility of blood, 4. Neuronal-hemodynamic coupling, 5. The spatial scale of brain activation, 6. The prevalence of scanners able to perform echo planar imaging (EPI), 7. The parallel development of computing power, and 8. The very large group of neuroscientists who, pre-1991, were perfectly poised, willing, and able to exploit the capability of fMRI. These circumstances are discussed in detail. The desired goal of this review is primarily to convey the field of fMRI from the perspective of what was critically important before, during and after its inception and how things might have been if these circumstances would have been different. While there are many instances where circumstances could have been better, it is clear that they worked out extremely well, as the field of fMRI, a major aspect of functional neuroimaging today, is thriving.

3. Development of functional imaging in the human brain (fMRI); the University of Minnesota experience.
U?urbil K.

The human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments performed in the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR), University of Minnesota, were planned between two colleagues who had worked together previously in Bell Laboratories in the late nineteen seventies, namely myself and Seiji Ogawa. These experiments were motivated by the Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) contrast developed by Seiji. We discussed and planned human studies to explore imaging human brain activity using the BOLD mechanism on the 4 Tesla human system that I was expecting to receive for CMRR. We started these experiments as soon as this 4 Tesla instrument became marginally operational. These were the very first studies performed on the 4 Tesla scanner in CMRR; had the scanner became functional earlier, they would have been started earlier as well. We had positive results certainly by August 1991 annual meeting of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (SMRM) and took some of the data with us to that meeting. I believe, however, that neither the MGH colleagues nor us, at the time, had enough data and/or conviction to publish these extraordinary observations; it took more or less another six months or so before the papers from these two groups were submitted for publication within five days of each other to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, after rejections by Nature. Based on this record, it is fair to say that fMRI was achieved independently and at about the same time at MGH, in an effort credited largely to Ken Kwong, and in CMRR, University of Minnesota in an effort led by myself and Seiji Ogawa.