A Free-breathing fMRI Method to Study Human Olfactory Function

Jianli Wang, Sebastian Rupprecht, Xiaoyu Sun, Diana Freiberg, Courtney Crowell, Emma Cartisano, Megha Vasavada, Qing X. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The study of human olfaction is a highly complex and valuable field with applications ranging from biomedical research to clinical evaluation. Currently, evaluation of the functions of the human central olfactory system with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is still a challenge because of several technical difficulties. There are some significant variables to take into account when considering an effective method for mapping the function of the central olfactory system using fMRI, including proper odorant selection, the interaction between odor presentation and respiration, and potential anticipation of or habituation to odorants. An event-related, respiration-triggered olfactory fMRI technique can accurately administer odorants to stimulate the olfactory system while minimizing potential interference. It can effectively capture the precise onsets of fMRI signals in the primary olfactory cortex using our data post-processing method. The technique presented here provides an efficient and practical means for generating reliable olfactory fMRI results. Such a technique can ultimately be applied in the clinical realm as a diagnostic tool for diseases associated with olfactory degeneration, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, as we begin to further understand the complexities of the human olfactory system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number125
StatePublished - Jul 30 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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