Microstructure Diffusion Scalar Measures from Reduced MRI Acquisitions

Uploaded to bioRxiv, preprint 10.1101/772897: http://biorxiv.org/cgi/content/short/772897v1

Abstract: In diffusion MRI, the Ensemble Average diffusion Propagator (EAP) provides relevant microstructural information and meaningful descriptive maps of the white matter previously obscured by traditional techniques like the Diffusion Tensor. The direct estimation of the EAP, however, requires a dense sampling of the Cartesian q-space. Due to the huge amount of samples needed for an accurate reconstruction, more efficient alternative techniques have been proposed in the last decade. Even so, all of them imply acquiring a large number of diffusion gradients with different b-values. In order to use the EAP in practical studies, scalar measures must be directly derived, being the most common the return-to-origin probability (RTOP) and the return-to-plane and return-to-axis probabilities (RTPP, RTAP). In this work, we propose the so-called "Apparent Measures Using Reduced Acquisitions" (AMURA) to drastically reduce the number of samples needed for the estimation of diffusion properties. AMURA avoids the calculation of the whole EAP by assuming the diffusion anisotropy is roughly independent from the radial direction. With such an assumption, and as opposed to common multi-shell procedures based on iterative optimization, we achieve closed-form expressions for the measures using information from one single shell. This way, the new methodology remains compatible with standard acquisition protocols commonly used for HARDI (based on just one b-value). We report extensive results showing the potential of AMURA to reveal microstructural properties of the tissues compared to state of the art EAP estimators, and is well above that of Diffusion Tensor techniques. At the same time, the closed forms provided for RTOP, RTPP, and RTAP-like magnitudes make AMURA both computationally efficient and robust.

Santiago Aja-Fernandez