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Minim Invasive Neurosurg. 2004 Jun;47(3):160-4.

Functional and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging for visualization of the postthalamic visual fiber tracts and the visual cortex.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital, University of Technology, Aachen, Germany.


Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers the possibility to study the course of the cerebral white matter tracts whereas functional MRI (fMRI) provides information about the specific functions of cortical areas. We evaluated the combination of fMRI and diffusion-weighted MRI to detect cortical visual areas with their corresponding visual fiber tracts in 15 healthy controls (age: 23 - 53 years, male : female = 8 : 7). We demonstrated activation within the primary visual cortex and white matter bundles connecting the lateral geniculate body and the striate cortex in all subjects investigated. Additional activation could be appreciated in some subjects within the lateral geniculate bodies (n = 2) and the motion-sensitive area V5 (n = 3). The combination of diffusion-weighted and functional imaging allows visualization of the origin, direction and functionality of large white matter tracts. This will prove helpful for imaging structural connectivity within the brain during functional imaging. Moreover, this technique might provide important information for neurosurgical patients presenting with space-occupying lesions close to the cortical and subcortical visual system since this technique can -- in contrast to diffusion tensor imaging -- easily be adopted into a neuronavigation system and can be performed on all MR scanners capable of diffusion-weighted imaging without specific post-processing programs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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