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Magn Reson Med. 2002 Jan;47(1):115-26.

High b-value q-space analyzed diffusion-weighted MRI: application to multiple sclerosis.

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School of Chemistry, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) which affects nearly one million people worldwide, leading to a progressive decline of motor and sensory functions, and permanent disability. High b-value diffusion-weighted MR images (b of up to 14000 s/mm(2)) were acquired from the brains of controls and MS patients. These diffusion MR images, in which signal decay is not monoexponential, were analyzed using the q-space approach that emphasizes the diffusion characteristics of the slow-diffusing component. From this analysis, displacement and probability maps were constructed. The computed q-space analyzed MR images that were compared with conventional T(1), T(2) (fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR)), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) images were found to be sensitive to the pathophysiological state of white matter. The indices used to construct this q-space analyzed MR maps, provided a pronounced differentiation between normal tissue and tissues classified as MS plaques by the FLAIR images. More importantly, a pronounced differentiation was also observed between tissues classified by the FLAIR MR images as normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) in the MS brains, which are known to be abnormal, and the respective control tissues. The potential diagnostic capacity of high b-value diffusion q-space analyzed MR images is discussed, and experimental data that explains the consequences of using the q-space approach once the short pulse gradient approximation is violated are presented.

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