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Magn Reson Med. 2013 Jan;69(1):144-9. doi: 10.1002/mrm.24235. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

Fast diffusion tensor imaging and tractography of the whole cervical spinal cord using point spread function corrected echo planar imaging.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Diffusion tensor imaging has been used in a number of spinal cord studies, but severe distortions caused by susceptibility induced field inhomogeneities limit its applicability to investigate small volumes within acceptable acquisition times. A way to evaluate image distortions is to map the point spread function of the voxel intensity in a reference scan. In this study, the point spread function was mapped for an echo-planar imaging sequence in the human cervical spinal cord with isotropic resolution and large field of view. Correction with the point spread function map improved anatomical consistency, and full cervical tractography was thereby possible from a C1 seed region in healthy controls and one individual with spinal cord injury. It is suggested that point spread function mapping of the spinal cord can be used in combination with sequence-based methods for reduction of susceptibility artifacts or in high-field imaging settings where off-resonance effects are pronounced.

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