Crossing fibers are prevalent in human brains and a subject of intense interest for neuroscience. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can resolve tissue orientation but is blind to crossing fibers. Many advanced diffusion-weighted magnetic resolution imaging (MRI) approaches have been presented to extract crossing-fibers from high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI), but the relative sensitivity and specificity of approaches remains unclear. Here, we examine two leading approaches (PAS and q-ball) in the context of a large-scale, single subject reproducibility study. A single healthy individual was scanned 11 times with 96 diffusion weighted directions and 10 reference volumes for each of five b-values (1000, 1500, 2000, 2500, 3000 s/mm2) for a total of 5830 volumes (over the course of three sessions). We examined the reproducibility of the number of fibers per voxel, volume fraction, and crossing-fiber angles. For each method, we determined the minimum resolvable angle for each acquisition. Reproducibility of fiber counts per voxel was generally high (~80% consensus for PAS and ~70% for q-ball), but there was substantial bias between individual repetitions and model estimated with all data (~10% lower consensus for PAS and ~15% lower for q-ball). Both PAS and q-ball predominantly discovered fibers crossing at near 90 degrees, but reproducibility was higher for PAS across most measures. Within voxels with low anisotropy, q-ball finds more intra-voxel structure; meanwhile, PAS resolves multiple fibers at greater than 75 degrees for more voxels. These results can inform researchers when deciding between HARDI approaches or interpreting findings across studies.
Vishwesh Nath, Kurt G. Schilling, Justin A. Blaber, Zhaohua Ding, Adam W. Anderson, and Bennett A. Landman, "Comparison of multi-fiber reproducibility of PAS-MRI and Q-ball with empirical multiple b-value HARDI," Proc. SPIE 10133, Medical Imaging 2017: Image Processing, 101330L (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 13, 2017; Published: 24 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2254736.
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