During the last eight years our group has developed radial acquisitions with angular undersampling
factors of several hundred that accelerate MRI in selected applications. As with all previous
acceleration techniques, SNR typically falls as least as fast as the inverse square root of the
undersampling factor. This limits the SNR available to support the small voxels that these methods
can image over short time intervals in applications like time-resolved contrast-enhanced MR
angiography (CE-MRA). Instead of processing each time interval independently, we have developed
constrained reconstruction methods that exploit the significant correlation between temporal
sampling points. A broad class of methods, termed HighlY Constrained Back PRojection (HYPR),
generalizes this concept to other modalities and sampling dimensions.
MRI data analysis is routinely done on the magnitude part of complex images. While both real and imaginary image channels contain Gaussian noise, magnitude MRI data are characterized by Rice distribution. However, conventional filtering methods often assume image noise to be zero mean and Gaussian distributed. Estimation of an underlying image using magnitude data produces biased result. The bias may lead to significant image errors, especially in areas of low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The incorporation of the Rice PDF into a noise filtering procedure can significantly complicate the method both algorithmically and computationally. In this paper, we demonstrate that inherent image phase smoothness of spin-echo MRI images could be utilized for separate filtering of real and imaginary complex image channels to achieve unbiased image denoising. The concept is demonstrated with a novel nonlinear diffusion filtering scheme developed for complex image filtering. In our proposed method, the separate diffusion processes are coupled through combined diffusion coefficients determined from the image magnitude. The new method has been validated with simulated and real MRI data. The new method has provided efficient denoising and bias removal in conventional and black-blood angiography MRI images obtained using fast spin echo acquisition protocols.
Parallel imaging techniques for MRI use differences in spatial sensitivity of multiple receiver coils to achieve additional encoding effect and significantly reduce data acquisition time. Recently, a projection onto convex sets (POCS) based method for reconstruction from sensitivity-encoded data (POCSENSE) has been proposed. The main advantage of the POCSENCE in comparison with other iterative reconstruction techniques is that it offers a straightforward and computationally efficient way to incorporate non-linear constraints into the reconstruction that can lead to improved image quality and/or reliable reconstruction for underdetermined problems. However, POCSENSE algorithm demonstrates slow convergence in cases of badly conditioned problems. In this work, we propose a novel method for image reconstruction from sensitivity encoded MRI data that overcomes the limitation of the original POCSENSE technique. In the proposed method, the convex combination of projections onto convex sets is used to obtain an updated estimate of the solution via relaxation. The new method converges very efficiently due to the use of an iteration-dependent relaxation parameter that may extend far beyond the theoretical limits of POCS. The developed method was validated with phantom and volunteer MRI data and was demonstrated to have a much higher convergence rate than that of the original POCSENSE technique.