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It has been recently proposed that the local cerebral blood volume change during brain activation can be measured by a series of images whose contrast is dependent on vascular space occupancy (VASO). VASO takes advantage of the inversion recovery sequence to acquire images when the longitudinal magnetization (MZ) of blood is relaxing through zero. The degree of blood suppression, however, is not always well controlled as a consequence of spatial variations in inversion efficiency and blood T1. Furthermore, while blood is eliminated, the MZ of other tissues is also small, which makes the contrast-to-noise ratio inherently low in VASO. In this paper, diffusion gradients were applied to demonstrate residual intravascular signal in the original VASO. An alternative VASO-weighted imaging was then proposed using a longer inversion time at which the MZ difference between blood and gray matter was optimized. A global saturation immediately after image acquisition was employed to eliminate the MZ disparity between inflowing blood and the residual in-plane blood from previous acquisition. Feasibility was evaluated by numerical simulation and functional experiments. In human visual cortex, the fractional VASO signal and cerebral blood volume changes were found to be 0.6% and 44%, respectively (voxel size = 3.4 times 3.4 times 5.0 mm3). As compared to the original VASO, the presented method provided a largely comparable activation map and hemodynamic curve but was not confounded by the existence of blood. Results also demonstrated its advantages of 1.6-fold higher CNR and insensitivity to variant tissue/blood T1 as well as inversion efficiency.