Transferring principles of solid-state and Laplace NMR to the field of in vivo brain MRI

de Almeida Martins, João P.; Tax, Chantal M. W.; Szczepankiewicz, Filip; Jones, Derek K.; Westin, Carl-Fredrik; Topgaard, Daniel

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the primary method for noninvasive investigations of the human brain in health, disease, and development but yields data that are difficult to interpret whenever the millimeter-scale voxels contain multiple microscopic tissue environments with different chemical and structural properties. We propose a novel MRI framework to quantify the microscopic heterogeneity of the living human brain as spatially resolved five-dimensional relaxation–diffusion distributions by augmenting a conventional diffusion-weighted imaging sequence with signal encoding principles from multidimensional solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, relaxation–diffusion correlation methods from Laplace NMR of porous media, and Monte Carlo data inversion. The high dimensionality of the distribution space allows resolution of multiple microscopic environments within each heterogeneous voxel as well as their individual characterization with novel statistical measures that combine the chemical sensitivity of the relaxation rates with the link between microstructure and the anisotropic diffusivity of tissue water. The proposed framework is demonstrated on a healthy volunteer using both exhaustive and clinically viable acquisition protocols.



de Almeida Martins, João P. / Tax, Chantal M. W. / Szczepankiewicz, Filip / et al: Transferring principles of solid-state and Laplace NMR to the field of in vivo brain MRI. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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