, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 258-266
Date: 04 Mar 2004

Fast quantitative diffusion-tensor imaging of cerebral white matter from the neonatal period to adolescence

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Abstract

We investigated the isotropic diffusion coefficient (D’) and fractional anisotropy (FA) in white matter (WM) during brain development, using an optimised diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI) method with whole brain coverage in a clinically acceptable time. We images 52 children with no evident neurological abnormality (30 boys, 22 girls aged 1 day–16 years) using high-angle DTI with optimised temporal gradient performance. D’ and FA were calculated in 10 regions of interest in white matter. We saw that the age-related reduction in D’ and increase in FA follow a mono- or biexponential model in white matter, probably depending on the compactness and myelination rate of the fibre tracts. In contrast to other areas, in which adult values were reached during the third year, there is a trend to continuous increase in FA in all deep white-matter areas, suggesting continuing maturation and organisation of deep tracts not detected on conventional MRI.