Fiber Tract Following in the Human Brain Using DT-MRI Data

Peter J. BASSER  Sinisa PAJEVIC  Carlo PIERPAOLI  Akram ALDROUBI  

Publication
IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E85-D   No.1   pp.15-21
Publication Date: 2002/01/01
Online ISSN: 
DOI: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: INVITED PAPER (Special Issue on Measurements and Visualization Technology of Biological Information)
Category: 
Keyword: 
MRI,  DTI,  DT,  diffusion,  tensor,  human,  brain,  white matter,  fiber,  tract,  trajectory,  artifact,  noise,  

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Summary: 
In Vivo Diffusion Tensor Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DT-MRI) can now be used to elucidate and investigate major nerve pathways in the brain. Nerve pathways are constructed by a) calculating a continuous diffusion tensor field from the discrete, noisy, measured DT-MRI data and then b) solving an equation describing the evolution of a fiber tract, in which the local direction vector of the trajectory is identified with the direction of maximum apparent diffusivity. This approach has been validated previously using synthesized, noisy DT-MRI data. Presently, it is possible to reconstruct large white matter structures in the brain, such as the corpus callosum and the pyramidal tracts. Several problems, however, still affect the method's reliability. Its accuracy degrades where the fiber-tract directional distribution is non-uniform, and background noise in diffusion weighted MRIs can cause computed trajectories to jump to different tracts. Nonetheless, this method can provide quantitative information with which to visualize and study connectivity and continuity of neural pathways in the central and peripheral nervous systems in vivo, and holds promise for elucidating architectural features in other fibrous tissues and ordered media.