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Open Access Application of a Novel Quantitative Tractography-based Analysis of Diffusion Tensor Imaging to Examine Fiber Bundle Length In Human Cerebral White Matter

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This paper reviews basic methods and recent applications of length-based fiber bundle analysis of cerebral white matter using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI). Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) is a dMRI technique that uses the random motion of water to probe tissue microstructure in the brain. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is an extension of DWI that measures the magnitude and direction of water diffusion in cerebral white matter, using either voxel-based scalar metrics or tractography-based analyses. More recently, quantitative tractography based on diffusion tensor imaging (qtDTI) technology has been developed to help quantify aggregate structural anatomical properties of white matter fiber bundles, including both scalar metrics of bundle diffusion and more complex morphometric properties, such as fiber bundle length (FBL). Unlike traditional scalar diffusion metrics, FBL reflects the direction and curvature of white matter pathways coursing through the brain and is sensitive to changes within the entire tractography model. In this paper, we discuss applications of this approach to date that have provided new insights into brain organization and function. We also discuss opportunities for improving the methodology through more complex anatomical models and potential areas of new application for qtDTI.

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Keywords: AGING; DIFFUSION TENSOR IMAGING; QUANTITATIVE TRACTOGRAPHY; WHITE MATTER

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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