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Open Access Reducing CSF Partial Volume Effects to Enhance Diffusion Tensor Imaging Metrics of Brain Microstructure

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Technological advances over recent decades now allow for in vivo observation of human brain tissue through the use of neuroimaging methods. While this field originated with techniques capable of capturing macrostructural details of brain anatomy, modern methods such as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) that are now regularly implemented in research protocols have the ability to characterize brain microstructure. DTI has been used to reveal subtle micro-anatomical abnormalities in the prodromal phase ofÂș various diseases and also to delineate “normal” age-related changes in brain tissue across the lifespan. Nevertheless, imaging artifact in DTI remains a significant limitation for identifying true neural signatures of disease and brain-behavior relationships. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contamination of brain voxels is a main source of error on DTI scans that causes partial volume effects and reduces the accuracy of tissue characterization. Several methods have been proposed to correct for CSF artifact though many of these methods introduce new limitations that may preclude certain applications. The purpose of this review is to discuss the complexity of signal acquisition as it relates to CSF artifact on DTI scans and review methods of CSF suppression in DTI. We will then discuss a technique that has been recently shown to effectively suppress the CSF signal in DTI data, resulting in fewer errors and improved measurement of brain tissue. This approach and related techniques have the potential to significantly improve our understanding of "normal" brain aging and neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Considerations for next-level applications are discussed.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2016

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  • Technology and Innovation, edited and published by the National Academy of Inventors, is a forum for presenting information encompassing the entire field of applied sciences, with a focus on transformative technology and academic innovation. Regular features of T&I include commentaries contributed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in-depth profiles of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors in every issue.

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