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Magn Reson Imaging. 1994;12(3):443-54.

A method for myelin fiber orientation mapping using diffusion-weighted MR images.

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Biomedical MR Unit, PRIMIS, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.


In the past, the anisotropic diffusion of water molecules in white matter in the brain has been correlated to the basic symmetry of the myelin fibers: water diffuses more readily along the fiber direction than perpendicular to it. As a consequence, diffusion sensitized magnetic resonance imaging can be expected to be useful for studying the fiber orientation. In this work, we present a method for exploiting this type of information to map the fiber orientations in the image plane. It makes use of three diffusion-weighted images with sensitizing gradients along x, y and u, an axis at 45 degrees with respect to x and y. The orientation information contained in these images is summarized in a single image representing the angle between the fiber direction and a fixed axis, making use of a cyclic color scale. The method is evaluated using computer simulations for a variety of diffusion weighting strengths and signal-to-noise ratios, tested on a phantom and illustrated on an in vivo example. An extension to the determination of the fiber orientation in three dimensions is also described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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