Development and initial evaluation of 7-T q-ball imaging of the human brain

Pratik Mukherjee, Christopher P. Hess, Duan Xu, Eric T. Han, Douglas A. Kelley, Daniel B. Vigneron
2008 Magnetic Resonance Imaging  
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) noninvasively depicts white matter connectivity in regions where the Gaussian model of diffusion is valid, but yields inaccurate results where diffusion has a more complex distribution, such as fiber crossings. Q-ball imaging (QBI) overcomes this limitation of DTI by more fully characterizing the angular dependence of intravoxel diffusion with larger numbers of diffusion-encoding directional measurements at higher diffusion-weighting factors (b values). However,
more » ... e former results in longer acquisition times and the latter results in lower signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). In this project, we developed specialized 7 Tesla acquisition methods utilizing novel radiofrequency pulses, 8-channel parallel imaging EPI, and high-order shimming with a phase-sensitive multichannel B 0 field map reconstruction. These methods were applied in initial healthy adult volunteer studies which demonstrated the feasibility of performing 7T QBI. Preliminary comparisons of 3T with 7T within supratentorial crossing white matter tracts document a 79.5% SNR increase for b=3000 s/mm 2 (p=0.0001), and a 38.6% SNR increase for b=6000 s/mm 2 (p=0.015). Using spherical harmonic reconstruction of the q-ball orientation distribution function at b=3000 s/mm 2 , 7T QBI allowed accurate visualization of crossing fiber tracts with fewer diffusion-encoding acquisitions than at 3T. The improvement of 7T QBI at b factors as high as 6000 s/mm 2 resulted in better angular resolution than 3T for depicting fibers crossing at shallow angles. Although the increased susceptibility effects at 7T caused problematic distortions near brain-air interfaces at the skull base and posterior fossa, these initial 7T QBI studies demonstrated excellent quality in much of the supratentorial brain with significant improvements as compared to 3T acquisitions in the same individuals.
doi:10.1016/j.mri.2007.05.011 pmid:17692489 pmcid:PMC2997615 fatcat:iny4bqugdfbubkg6te4mzyapjy