A quantitative theory is developed for the relationship between stimulus and the resulting blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal, including both spatial and temporal dynamics for the first time. The brain tissue is modeled as a porous elastic medium, whose interconnected pores represent the vasculature. The model explicitly incorporates conservation of blood mass, interconversion of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin, force balance within the blood and of blood pressure with vessel walls, and blood flow modulation due to neuronal activity. In appropriate limits it is shown to reproduce prior Balloon models of hemodynamic response, which do not include spatial variations. The regime of validity of such models is thereby clarified by elucidating their assumptions, and when these break down, for example when voxel sizes become small.
- Blood oxygen level dependent
- Functional MRI
- Porous medium
- Spatial and temporal dynamics