An algorithm for the optimisation of 3D Modified Driven Equilibrium Fourier Transform (MDEFT) sequences for T1-weighted anatomical brain imaging is presented. Imaging parameters are optimised for a clinical whole body scanner and a clinical head scanner operating at 1.5 and 3 T, respectively. In vivo studies show that the resulting sequences allow for the whole brain acquisition of anatomical scans with an isotropic resolution of 1 mm and high contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) in an acceptable scan time of 12 min. Typical problems related to the scanner-specific hardware configurations are discussed in detail, especially the occurrence of flow artefacts in images acquired with head transmit coils and the enhancement of scalp intensities in images acquired with phased array receive coils. It is shown both theoretically and experimentally that these problems can be avoided by using spin tagging and fat saturation. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.