Retrieving medical images that present similar diseases is an active research area for diagnostics and therapy. However, it can be problematic given the visual variations between anatomical structures. In this paper, we propose a new feature extraction method for similarity computation in medical imaging. Instead of the low-level visual appearance, we design a CCA-PairLDA feature representation method to capture the similarity between images with high-level semantics. First, we extract the PairLDA topics to represent an image as a mixture of latent semantic topics in an image pair context. Second, we generate a CCA-correlation model to represent the semantic association between an image pair for similarity computation. While PairLDA adjusts the latent topics for all image pairs, CCA-correlation helps to associate an individual image pair. In this way, the semantic descriptions of an image pair are closely correlated, and naturally correspond to similarity computation between images. We evaluated our method on two public medical imaging datasets for image retrieval and showed improved performance.
Quantifying the systemic risk and fragility of financial systems is of vital importance in analyzing market efficiency, deciding on portfolio allocation, and containing financial contagions. At a high level, financial systems may be represented as weighted graphs that characterize the complex web of interacting agents and information flow (for example, debt, stock returns, and shareholder ownership). Such a representation often turns out to provide keen insights. We show that fragility is a system-level characteristic of "business-as-usual" market behavior and that financial crashes are invariably preceded by system-level changes in robustness. This was done by leveraging previous work, which suggests that Ricci curvature, a key geometric feature of a given network, is negatively correlated to increases in network fragility. To illustrate this insight, we examine daily returns from a set of stocks comprising the Standard and Poor's 500 (S&P 500) over a 15-year span to highlight the fact that corresponding changes in Ricci curvature constitute a financial "crash hallmark." This work lays the foundation of understanding how to design (banking) systems and policy regulations in a manner that can combat financial instabilities exposed during the 2007-2008 crisis.
We introduce a generative probabilistic model for segmentation of brain lesions in multi-dimensional images that generalizes the EM segmenter, a common approach for modelling brain images using Gaussian mixtures and a probabilistic tissue atlas that employs expectation-maximization (EM), to estimate the label map for a new image. Our model augments the probabilistic atlas of the healthy tissues with a latent atlas of the lesion. We derive an estimation algorithm with closed-form EM update equations. The method extracts a latent atlas prior distribution and the lesion posterior distributions jointly from the image data. It delineates lesion areas individually in each channel, allowing for differences in lesion appearance across modalities, an important feature of many brain tumor imaging sequences. We also propose discriminative model extensions to map the output of the generative model to arbitrary labels with semantic and biological meaning, such as "tumor core" or "fluid-filled structure", but without a one-to-one correspondence to the hypo- or hyper-intense lesion areas identified by the generative model. We test the approach in two image sets: the publicly available BRATS set of glioma patient scans, and multimodal brain images of patients with acute and subacute ischemic stroke. We find the generative model that has been designed for tumor lesions to generalize well to stroke images, and the extended discriminative-discriminative model to be one of the top ranking methods in the BRATS evaluation.
Disentangling the tissue microstructural information from the diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) measurements is quite important for extracting brain tissue specific measures. The autocorrelation function of diffusing spins is key for understanding the relation between dMRI signals and the acquisition gradient sequences. In this paper, we demonstrate that the autocorrelation of diffusion in restricted or bounded spaces can be well approximated by exponential functions. To this end, we propose to use the multivariate Ornstein-Uhlenbeck (OU) process to model the matrix-valued exponential autocorrelation function of three-dimensional diffusion processes with bounded trajectories. We present detailed analysis on the relation between the model parameters and the time-dependent apparent axon radius and provide a general model for dMRI signals from the frequency domain perspective. For our experimental setup, we model the diffusion signal as a mixture of two compartments that correspond to diffusing spins with bounded and unbounded trajectories, and analyze the corpus-callosum in an ex-vivo data set of a monkey brain.
Extracting nuclei is one of the most actively studied topic in the digital pathology researches. Most of the studies directly search the nuclei (or seeds for the nuclei) from the finest resolution available. While the richest information has been utilized by such approaches, it is sometimes difficult to address the heterogeneity of nuclei in different tissues. In this work, we propose a hierarchical approach which starts from the lower resolution level and adaptively adjusts the parameters while progressing into finer and finer resolution. The algorithm is tested on brain and lung cancers images from The Cancer Genome Atlas data set.
Digital histopathological images provide detailed spatial information of the tissue at micrometer resolution. Among the available contents in the pathology images, meso-scale information, such as the gland morphology, texture, and distribution, are useful diagnostic features. In this work, focusing on the colon-rectal cancer tissue samples, we propose a multi-scale learning based segmentation scheme for the glands in the colon-rectal digital pathology slides. The algorithm learns the gland and non-gland textures from a set of training images in various scales through a sparse dictionary representation. After the learning step, the dictionaries are used collectively to perform the classification and segmentation for the new image.
Registration of multiple 3D ultrasound sectors in order to provide an extended field of view is important for the appreciation of larger anatomical structures at high spatial and temporal resolution. In this paper, we present a method for fully automatic spatio-temporal registration between two partially overlapping 3D ultrasound sequences. The temporal alignment is solved by aligning the normalized cross correlation-over-time curves of the sequences. For the spatial alignment, corresponding 3D Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) features are extracted from all frames of both sequences independently of the temporal alignment. A rigid transform is then calculated by least squares minimization in combination with random sample consensus. The method is applied to 16 echocardiographic sequences of the left and right ventricles and evaluated against manually annotated temporal events and spatial anatomical landmarks. The mean distances between manually identified landmarks in the left and right ventricles after automatic registration were (mean ± SD) 4.3 ± 1.2 mm compared to a reference error of 2.8 ± 0.6 mm with manual registration. For the temporal alignment, the absolute errors in valvular event times were 14.4 ± 11.6 ms for Aortic Valve (AV) opening, 18.6 ± 16.0 ms for AV closing, and 34.6 ± 26.4 ms for mitral valve opening, compared to a mean inter-frame time of 29 ms.
Diffusion MRI (dMRI) can provide invaluable information about the structure of different tissue types in the brain. Standard dMRI acquisitions facilitate a proper analysis (e.g. tracing) of medium-to-large white matter bundles. However, smaller fiber bundles connecting very small cortical or sub-cortical regions cannot be traced accurately in images with large voxel sizes. Yet, the ability to trace such fiber bundles is critical for several applications such as deep brain stimulation and neurosurgery. In this work, we propose a novel acquisition and reconstruction scheme for obtaining high spatial resolution dMRI images using multiple low resolution (LR) images, which is effective in reducing acquisition time while improving the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The proposed method called compressed-sensing super resolution reconstruction (CS-SRR), uses multiple overlapping thick-slice dMRI volumes that are under-sampled in q-space to reconstruct diffusion signal with complex orientations. The proposed method combines the twin concepts of compressed sensing and super-resolution to model the diffusion signal (at a given b-value) in a basis of spherical ridgelets with total-variation (TV) regularization to account for signal correlation in neighboring voxels. A computationally efficient algorithm based on the alternating direction method of multipliers (ADMM) is introduced for solving the CS-SRR problem. The performance of the proposed method is quantitatively evaluated on several in-vivo human data sets including a true SRR scenario. Our experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method can be used for reconstructing sub-millimeter super resolution dMRI data with very good data fidelity in clinically feasible acquisition time.
The research on staging of pre-symptomatic and prodromal phase of neurological disorders, e.g., Alzheimer's disease (AD), is essential for prevention of dementia. New strategies for AD staging with a focus on early detection, are demanded to optimize potential efficacy of disease-modifying therapies that can halt or slow the disease progression. Recently, neuroimaging are increasingly used as additional research-based markers to detect AD onset and predict conversion of MCI and normal control (NC) to AD. Researchers have proposed a variety of neuroimaging biomarkers to characterize the patterns of the pathology of AD and MCI, and suggested that multi-view neuroimaging biomarkers could lead to better performance than single-view biomarkers in AD staging. However, it is still unclear what leads to such synergy and how to preserve or maximize. In an attempt to answer these questions, we proposed a cross-view pattern analysis framework for investigating the synergy between different neuroimaging biomarkers. We quantitatively analyzed nine types of biomarkers derived from FDG-PET and T1-MRI, and evaluated their performance in a task of classifying AD, MCI, and NC subjects obtained from the ADNI baseline cohort. The experiment results showed that these biomarkers could depict the pathology of AD from different perspectives, and output distinct patterns that are significantly associated with the disease progression. Most importantly, we found that these features could be separated into clusters, each depicting a particular aspect; and the inter-cluster features could always achieve better performance than the intra-cluster features in AD staging.
Content-based medical image retrieval (CBMIR) is an active research area for disease diagnosis and treatment but it can be problematic given the small visual variations between anatomical structures. We propose a retrieval method based on a bag-of-visual-words (BoVW) to identify discriminative characteristics between different medical images with Pruned Dictionary based on Latent Semantic Topic description. We refer to this as the PD-LST retrieval. Our method has two main components. First, we calculate a topic-word significance value for each visual word given a certain latent topic to evaluate how the word is connected to this latent topic. The latent topics are learnt, based on the relationship between the images and words, and are employed to bridge the gap between low-level visual features and high-level semantics. These latent topics describe the images and words semantically and can thus facilitate more meaningful comparisons between the words. Second, we compute an overall-word significance value to evaluate the significance of a visual word within the entire dictionary. We designed an iterative ranking method to measure overall-word significance by considering the relationship between all latent topics and words. The words with higher values are considered meaningful with more significant discriminative power in differentiating medical images. We evaluated our method on two public medical imaging datasets and it showed improved retrieval accuracy and efficiency.
This work presents a deformable point set registration algorithm that seeks an optimal set of radial basis functions to describe the registration. A novel, global optimization approach is introduced composed of simulated annealing with a particle filter based generator function to perform the registration. It is shown how constraints can be incorporated into this framework. A constraint on the deformation is enforced whose role is to ensure physically meaningful fields (i.e., invertible). Further, examples in which landmark constraints serve to guide the registration are shown. Results on 2D and 3D data demonstrate the algorithm's robustness to noise and missing information.
BACKGROUND: The nigrosome-1 region of the substantia nigra (SN) undergoes the greatest and earliest dopaminergic neuron loss in Parkinson's disease (PD). As T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are often collected with routine clinical MRI protocols, this investigation aims to determine whether T2-imaging changes in the nigrosome-1 are related to clinical measures of PD and to assess their potential as a more clinically accessible biomarker for PD.
METHODS: Voxel intensity ratios were calculated for T2-weighted MRI scans from 47 subjects from the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative database. Three approaches were used to delineate the SN and nigrosome-1: (1) manual segmentation, (2) automated segmentation, and (3) area voxel-based morphometry. Voxel intensity ratios were calculated from voxel intensity values taken from the nigrosome-1 and two areas of the remaining SN. Linear regression analyses were conducted relating voxel intensity ratios with the Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) sub-scores for each subject.
RESULTS: For manual segmentation, linear regression tests consistently identified the voxel intensity ratio derived from the dorsolateral SN and nigrosome-1 (IR2) as predictive of nBehav (p = 0.0377) and nExp (p = 0.03856). For automated segmentation, linear regression tests identified IR2 as predictive of Subscore IA (nBehav) (p = 0.01134), Subscore IB (nExp) (p = 0.00336), Score II (mExp) (p = 0.02125), and Score III (mSign) (p = 0.008139). For the voxel-based morphometric approach, univariate simple linear regression analysis identified IR2 as yielding significant results for nBehav (p = 0.003102), mExp (p = 0.0172), and mSign (p = 0.00393).
CONCLUSION: Neuroimaging biomarkers may be used as a proxy of changes in the nigrosome-1, measured by MDS-UPDRS scores as an indicator of the severity of PD. The voxel intensity ratio derived from the dorsolateral SN and nigrosome-1 was consistently predictive of non-motor complex behaviors in all three analyses and predictive of non-motor experiences of daily living, motor experiences of daily living, and motor signs of PD in two of the three analyses. These results suggest that T2 changes in the nigrosome-1 may relate to certain clinical measures of PD. T2 changes in the nigrosome-1 may be considered when developing a more accessible clinical diagnostic tool for patients with suspected PD.
PURPOSE: Tractography is the most anatomically accurate method for delineating white matter tracts in the brain, yet few studies have examined multiple tracts using tractography in patients with schizophrenia (SCZ). We analyze 5 white matter connections important in the pathophysiology of SCZ: uncinate fasciculus, cingulum bundle (CB), inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), superior longitudinal fasciculus, and arcuate fasciculus (AF). Additionally, we investigate the relationship between diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) markers and neuropsychological measures.
METHODS: High-resolution DTI data were acquired on a 3 Tesla scanner in 30 patients with early-course SCZ and 30 healthy controls (HC) from the Boston Center for Intervention Development and Applied Research study. After manually guided tracts delineation, fractional anisotropy (FA), trace, radial diffusivity (RD), and axial diffusivity (AD) were calculated and averaged along each tract. The association of DTI measures with the Scales for the Assessment of Negative and Positive Symptoms and neuropsychological measures was evaluated.
RESULTS: Compared to HC, patients exhibited reduced FA and increased trace and RD in the right AF, CB, and ILF. A discriminant analysis showed the possible use of FA of these tracts for better future group membership classifications. FA and RD of the right ILF and AF were associated with positive symptoms while FA and RD of the right CB were associated with memory performance and processing speed.
CONCLUSION: We observed white matter alterations in the right CB, ILF, and AF, possibly caused by myelin disruptions. The structural abnormalities interact with cognitive performance, and are linked to clinical symptoms.
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: Anatomy is an essential component of medical education as it is critical for the accurate diagnosis in organs and human systems. The mental representation of the shape and organization of different anatomical structures is a crucial step in the learning process. The purpose of this pilot study is to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of developing innovative teaching modules for anatomy education of first-year medical students based on three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions from actual patient data.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 196 models of anatomical structures from 16 anonymized computed tomography datasets were generated using the 3D Slicer open-source software platform. The models focused on three anatomical areas: the mediastinum, the upper abdomen, and the pelvis. Online optional quizzes were offered to first-year medical students to assess their comprehension in the areas of interest. Specific tasks were designed for students to complete using the 3D models.
RESULTS: Scores of the quizzes confirmed a lack of understanding of 3D spatial relationships of anatomical structures despite standard instruction including dissection. Written task material and qualitative review by students suggested that interaction with 3D models led to a better understanding of the shape and spatial relationships among structures, and helped illustrate anatomical variations from one body to another.
CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates the feasibility of one possible approach to the generation of 3D models of the anatomy from actual patient data. The educational materials developed have the potential to supplement the teaching of complex anatomical regions and help demonstrate the anatomical variation among patients.
BACKGROUND: There is growing evidence to suggest that delusions associated with schizophrenia arise from altered structural brain connectivity. The present study investigated whether structural changes in three major fasciculi that interconnect the limbic system - the cingulum bundle, uncinate fasciculus and fornix - are associated with delusions in chronic schizophrenia patients. METHODS: Free-water corrected Diffusion Tensor Imaging was used to investigate the association between delusions and both microstructural changes within these three fasciculi and extracellular changes in the surrounding free-water. Clinical data and diffusion MRI scans were obtained from 28 healthy controls and 86 schizophrenia patients, of whom 34 had present state delusions, 35 had a lifetime history but currently remitted delusions, and 17 had never experienced delusions. RESULTS: While present state and remitted delusions were found to be associated with reduced free-water corrected fractional anisotropy (FAT) and increased free-water corrected radial diffusivity (RDT) in the cingulum bundle bilaterally, extracellular free-water (FW) in the left cingulum bundle was found to be specifically associated with present state delusions in chronic schizophrenia. No changes were observed in the remaining tracts. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that state and trait delusions in chronic schizophrenia are associated with microstructural processes, such as myelin abnormalities (as indicated by decreased FAT and increased RDT) in the cingulum bundle and that state delusions are additionally associated with extracellular processes such as neuroinflammation or atrophy (as indicated by increased FW) in the left cingulum bundle.
Matching the bolus arrival time (BAT) of the arterial input function (AIF) and tissue residue function (TRF) is necessary for accurate pharmacokinetic (PK) modeling of dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI). We investigated the sensitivity of volume transfer constant ([Formula: see text]) and extravascular extracellular volume fraction ([Formula: see text]) to BAT and compared the results of four automatic BAT measurement methods in characterization of prostate and breast cancers. Variation in delay between AIF and TRF resulted in a monotonous change trend of [Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text] values. The results of automatic BAT estimators for clinical data were all comparable except for one BAT estimation method. Our results indicate that inaccuracies in BAT measurement can lead to variability among DCE-MRI PK model parameters, diminish the quality of model fit, and produce fewer valid voxels in a region of interest. Although the selection of the BAT method did not affect the direction of change in the treatment assessment cohort, we suggest that BAT measurement methods must be used consistently in the course of longitudinal studies to control measurement variability.
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to present a tractography algorithm using a two-tensor unscented Kalman filter (UKF) to improve the modeling of the corticospinal tract (CST) by tracking through regions of peritumoral edema and crossing fibers. METHODS: Ten patients with brain tumors in the vicinity of motor cortex and evidence of significant peritumoral edema were retrospectively selected for the study. All patients underwent 3-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) including functional MRI (fMRI) and a diffusion-weighted data set with 31 directions. Fiber tracking was performed using both single-tensor streamline and two-tensor UKF tractography methods. A two-region-of-interest approach was used to delineate the CST. Results from the two tractography methods were compared visually and quantitatively. fMRI was applied to identify the functional fiber tracts. RESULTS: Single-tensor streamline tractography underestimated the extent of tracts running through the edematous areas and could only track the medial projections of the CST. In contrast, two-tensor UKF tractography tracked fanning projections of the CST despite peritumoral edema and crossing fibers. Based on visual inspection, the two-tensor UKF tractography delineated tracts that were closer to motor fMRI activations, and it was apparently more sensitive than single-tensor streamline tractography to define the tracts directed to the motor sites. The volume of the CST was significantly larger on two-tensor UKF than on single-tensor streamline tractography ([Formula: see text]). CONCLUSION: Two-tensor UKF tractography tracks a larger volume CST than single-tensor streamline tractography in the setting of peritumoral edema and crossing fibers in brain tumor patients.
Karl-Heinz Nenning, Julia Furtner, Barbara Kiesel, Ernst Schwartz, Thomas Roetzer, Nikolaus Fortelny, Christoph Bock, Anna Grisold, Martha Marko, Fritz Leutmezer, Hesheng Liu, Polina Golland, Sophia Stoecklein, Johannes A Hainfellner, Gregor Kasprian, Daniela Prayer, Christine Marosi, Georg Widhalm, Adelheid Woehrer, and Georg Langs. 10/2020. “Distributed Changes of the Functional Connectome in Patients with Glioblastoma.” Sci Rep, 10, 1, Pp. 18312.Abstract
Glioblastoma might have widespread effects on the neural organization and cognitive function, and even focal lesions may be associated with distributed functional alterations. However, functional changes do not necessarily follow obvious anatomical patterns and the current understanding of this interrelation is limited. In this study, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate changes in global functional connectivity patterns in 15 patients with glioblastoma. For six patients we followed longitudinal trajectories of their functional connectome and structural tumour evolution using bi-monthly follow-up scans throughout treatment and disease progression. In all patients, unilateral tumour lesions were associated with inter-hemispherically symmetric network alterations, and functional proximity of tumour location was stronger linked to distributed network deterioration than anatomical distance. In the longitudinal subcohort of six patients, we observed patterns of network alterations with initial transient deterioration followed by recovery at first follow-up, and local network deterioration to precede structural tumour recurrence by two months. In summary, the impact of focal glioblastoma lesions on the functional connectome is global and linked to functional proximity rather than anatomical distance to tumour regions. Our findings further suggest a relevance for functional network trajectories as a possible means supporting early detection of tumour recurrence.
Using positron emission tomography, we recently demonstrated elevated brain levels of the 18kDa translocator protein (TSPO), a glial activation marker, in chronic low back pain (cLBP) patients, compared to healthy controls (HC). Here, we first sought to replicate the original findings in an independent cohort (15 cLBP, 37.8±12.5 y/o; 18 HC, 48.2±12.8 y/o). We then trained random forest (RF) machine learning algorithms based on TSPO imaging features combining discovery and replication cohorts (totaling 25 cLBP, 42.4±13.2 y/o; 27 HC, 48.9±12.6 y/o), in order to explore whether image features other than the mean contain meaningful information that might contribute to the discrimination of cLBP patients and HC. Feature importance was ranked usind SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP) values, and the classification performance (in terms of AUC values) of classifiers containing only the mean, other features, or all features was compared using the DeLong test. Both region-of-interest (ROI) and voxelwise analyses replicated the original observation of thalamic TSPO signal elevations in cLBP patients compared to HC (p's<0.05). The RF-based analyses revealed that while the mean is a discriminating feature, other features demonstrate similar level of importance, including the maximum, kurtosis and entropy.Our observations suggest that thalamic neuroinflammatory signal is a reproducible and discriminating feature for cLBP, further supporting a role for glial activation in human chronic low back pain, and the exploration of neuroinflammation as a therapeutic target for chronic pain. This work further shows that TSPO signal contains a richness of information that the simple mean might fail to capture completely.
BACKGROUND: Extracellular free water within cerebral white matter tissue has been shown to increase with age and pathology, yet the cognitive consequences of free water in typical aging prior to the development of neurodegenerative disease remains unclear. Understanding the contribution of free water to cognitive function in older adults may provide important insight into the neural mechanisms of the cognitive aging process. METHODS: A diffusion-weighted MRI measure of extracellular free water as well as a commonly used diffusion MRI metric (fractional anisotropy) along nine bilateral white matter pathways were examined for their relationship with cognitive function assessed by the NIH Toolbox Cognitive Battery in 47 older adults (mean age = 74.4 years, SD = 5.4 years, range = 65-85 years). Probabilistic tractography at the 99th percentile level of probability (Tracts Constrained by Underlying Anatomy; TRACULA) was utilized to produce the pathways on which microstructural characteristics were overlaid and examined for their contribution to cognitive function independent of age, education, and gender. RESULTS: When examining the 99th percentile probability core white matter pathway derived from TRACULA, poorer fluid cognitive ability was related to higher mean free water values across the angular and cingulum bundles of the cingulate gyrus, as well as the corticospinal tract and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. There was no relationship between cognition and mean FA or free water-adjusted FA across the 99th percentile core white matter pathway. Crystallized cognitive ability was not associated with any of the diffusion measures. When examining cognitive domains comprising the NIH Toolbox Fluid Cognition index relationships with these white matter pathways, mean free water demonstrated strong hemispheric and functional specificity for cognitive performance, whereas mean FA was not related to age or cognition across the 99th percentile pathway. CONCLUSIONS: Extracellular free water within white matter appears to increase with normal aging, and higher values are associated with significantly lower fluid but not crystallized cognitive functions. When using TRACULA to estimate the core of a white matter pathway, a higher degree of free water appears to be highly specific to the pathways associated with memory, working memory, and speeded decision-making performance, whereas no such relationship existed with FA. These data suggest that free water may play an important role in the cognitive aging process, and may serve as a stronger and more specific indicator of early cognitive decline than traditional diffusion MRI measures, such as FA.
PURPOSE: To optimize diffusion-relaxation MRI with tensor-valued diffusion encoding for precise estimation of compartment-specific fractions, diffusivities, and T values within a two-compartment model of white matter, and to explore the approach in vivo. METHODS: Sampling protocols featuring different b-values (b), b-tensor shapes (b ), and echo times (TE) were optimized using Cramér-Rao lower bounds (CRLB). Whole-brain data were acquired in children, adults, and elderly with white matter lesions. Compartment fractions, diffusivities, and T values were estimated in a model featuring two microstructural compartments represented by a "stick" and a "zeppelin." RESULTS: Precise parameter estimates were enabled by sampling protocols featuring seven or more "shells" with unique b/b /TE-combinations. Acquisition times were approximately 15 minutes. In white matter of adults, the "stick" compartment had a fraction of approximately 0.5 and, compared with the "zeppelin" compartment, featured lower isotropic diffusivities (0.6 vs. 1.3 μm /ms) but higher T values (85 vs. 65 ms). Children featured lower "stick" fractions (0.4). White matter lesions exhibited high "zeppelin" isotropic diffusivities (1.7 μm /ms) and T values (150 ms). CONCLUSIONS: Diffusion-relaxation MRI with tensor-valued diffusion encoding expands the set of microstructure parameters that can be precisely estimated and therefore increases their specificity to biological quantities.
The corticospinal tract (CST) is one of the most well studied tracts in human neuroanatomy. Its clinical significance can be demonstrated in many notable traumatic conditions and diseases such as stroke, spinal cord injury (SCI) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). With the advent of diffusion MRI and tractography the computational representation of the human CST in a 3D model became available. However, the representation of the entire CST and, specifically, the hand motor area has remained elusive. In this paper we propose a novel method, using manually drawn ROIs based on robustly identifiable neuroanatomic structures to delineate the entire CST and isolate its hand motor representation as well as to estimate their variability and generate a database of their volume, length and biophysical parameters. Using 37 healthy human subjects we performed a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the CST and the hand-related motor fiber tracts (HMFTs). Finally, we have created variability heat maps from 37 subjects for both the aforementioned tracts, which could be utilized as a reference for future studies with clinical focus to explore neuropathology in both trauma and disease states.