Exploratory voxel-based analysis of diffusion indices and hemispheric asymmetry in normal aging.

TitleExploratory voxel-based analysis of diffusion indices and hemispheric asymmetry in normal aging.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsArdekani, S, Kumar A, Bartzokis G, Sinha U
JournalMagnetic resonance imaging
Date Published2007 Feb
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Aging, Algorithms, Anisotropy, Brain, Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Male, Middle Aged, Sensitivity and Specificity

Age-related microstructural changes in brain white matter can be studied by utilizing indices derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI): apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA). The objective of this study is to examine alterations in FA and ADC by employing exploratory voxel-based analysis (VBA) and region(s) of interest (ROI)-based analysis. A highly nonlinear registration algorithm was used to align the ADC and FA image volumes of different subjects to perform accurate voxel-level statistics for two age groups, as well as for hemispheric asymmetry for both age groups. VBA shows significant age-related decline in FA with frontal predominance (frontal white matter, and genu and anterior body of the corpus callosum), superior portions of a splenium and highly oriented fibers of the posterior limb of the internal capsule and the anterior and posterior limbs of the external capsule. Hemispheric asymmetry of FA, as assessed by VBA, showed that for the young-age group, significant right-greater-than-left asymmetry exists in the genu, splenium and body of the corpus callosum and that left-greater-than-right asymmetry exists in the anterior limb of the external capsule and in the posterior limb of the internal capsule, thalamus, cerebral peduncle and temporal-parietal regions. VBA of the hemispheric asymmetry of the middle-age group revealed much less asymmetry. Regions showing age-related changes and hemispheric asymmetry from VBA were, for a majority of the findings, in conformance with ROI analysis and with the known pattern of development and age-related degradation of fiber tracks. The study shows the feasibility of the VBA of DTI indices for exploratory investigations of subtle differences in population cohorts, especially when findings are not localized and/or known a priori.

Alternate JournalMagn Reson Imaging