Advanced White Matter Fiber Tractography Using Non-Gaussian Diffusion MRI


Summary: A new white matter tractography method based on the dMRI technique of diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI) has been developed. This method, known as DKI fiber tractography (DKI-FT), substantially improves upon the existing technique because of its ability to resolve intersecting fiber bundles. Moreover, since it is also easily implemented on clinical scanners, DKI-FT is an attractive alternative for clinical applications.


Overview: White matter fiber tractography (WMFT) refers to a class of techniques that use data obtained with diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) to map axonal fiber bundles in brain. Because WMFT can be obtained in three dimensions for in vivo whole brain in a completely noninvasive manner, it has revolutionized the study of structural brain connectivity and is currently being used clinically for the planning of neurosurgical interventions. The various WMFT methods differ in accuracy and practicality. Human applications in clinical settings have favored a method based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) (a type of dMRI). The method, called DTI fiber tractography (DTI-FT), is readily implemented on standard clinical MRI scanners, but suffers from substantial inaccuracies as it is incapable of detecting the intersection of two or more fiber bundles within an imaging voxel.

Applications: Brain imaging, neurosurgical planning, assessment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease


Advantages: Resolution of intersecting neuronal fiber bundles


Publications: Glenn, G. R., et al. "Mapping the Orientation of White Matter Fiber Bundles: A Comparative Study of Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Diffusional Kurtosis Imaging, and Diffusion Spectrum Imaging." American Journal of Neuroradiology (2016).

Glenn, G. Russell, et al. "Optimization of white matter fiber tractography with diffusional kurtosis imaging." NMR in Biomedicine 28.10 (2015): 1245-1256.

Jenson, Jens, et al. "Leading Non-Gaussian Corrections for Diffusion Orientation Distribution Function."  NMR Biomed. 27(2):202-211, 2014.


Inventors: J. Helpern, J. Jenson, A. Tabesh

Patent Status: US Patent 9,478,026

MUSC-FRD Technology ID: P1440

Licensing Status: Currently available for licensing.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Docket BioPharma
Zucker Institute of Innovation Commercialization powered by MUSC
Joseph Helpern
Ali Tabesh (deceased 9.1.14)
Jens Jensen
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