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J Neurosci. 2012 May 30;32(22):7418-28. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4687-11.2012.

The diffusion tensor imaging toolbox.

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Department of Neurology, Department of Radiological Sciences, Interdepartmental Program in Biomedical Engineering, Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, Brain Research Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7085, USA.


During the past few years, The Journal of Neuroscience has published more than 30 articles that describe investigations that used Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and related techniques as a primary observation method. This illustrates a growing interest in DTI within the basic and clinical neuroscience communities. This article summarizes DTI methodology in terms that can be immediately understood by the neuroscientist who has little previous exposure to DTI. It describes the fundamentals of water molecular diffusion coefficient measurement in brain tissue and illustrates how these fundamentals can be used to form vivid and useful depictions of white matter macroscopic and microscopic anatomy. It also describes current research applications and the technique's attributes and limitations. It is hoped that this article will help the readers of this Journal to more effectively evaluate neuroscience studies that use DTI.

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