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6 March 2013 Non-invasive high-resolution tracking of human neuronal pathways: diffusion tensor imaging at 7T with 1.2 mm isotropic voxel size
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Proceedings Volume 8668, Medical Imaging 2013: Physics of Medical Imaging; 866846 (2013)
Event: SPIE Medical Imaging, 2013, Lake Buena Vista (Orlando Area), Florida, United States
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) allows characterizing and exploiting diffusion anisotropy effects, thereby providing important details about tissue microstructure. A major application in neuroimaging is the so-called fiber tracking where neuronal connections between brain regions are determined non-invasively by DTI. Combining these neural pathways within the human brain with the localization of activated brain areas provided by functional MRI offers important information about functional connectivity of brain regions. However, DTI suffers from severe signal reduction due to the diffusion-weighting. Ultra-high field (UHF) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) should therefore be advantageous to increase the intrinsic signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). This in turn enables to acquire high quality data with increased resolution, which is beneficial for tracking more complex fiber structures. However, UHF MRI imposes some difficulties mainly due to the larger B1 inhomogeneity compared to 3T MRI. We therefore optimized the parameters to perform DTI at a 7 Tesla whole body MR scanner equipped with a high performance gradient system and a 32-channel head receive coil. A Stesjkal Tanner spin-echo EPI sequence was used, to acquire 110 slices with an isotropic voxel-size of 1.2 mm covering the whole brain. 60 diffusion directions were scanned which allows calculating the principal direction components of the diffusion vector in each voxel. The results prove that DTI can be performed with high quality at UHF and that it is possible to explore the SNT benefit of the higher field strength. Combining UHF fMRI data with UHF DTI results will therefore be a major step towards better neuroimaging methods.
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Ralf Lützkendorf, Frank Hertel, Robin Heidemann, Andreas Thiel, Michael Luchtmann, Markus Plaumann, Jörg Stadler, Sebastian Baecke, and Johannes Bernarding "Non-invasive high-resolution tracking of human neuronal pathways: diffusion tensor imaging at 7T with 1.2 mm isotropic voxel size", Proc. SPIE 8668, Medical Imaging 2013: Physics of Medical Imaging, 866846 (6 March 2013);

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