Paper of Ali Alhamud and colleagues to appear in NeuroImage

28 Nov 2015 - 08:45

A paper by Dr Ali Alhamud and colleagues from UCT and Harvard Medical School describing Real-time measurement and correction of both B0 changes and subject motion in diffusion tensor imaging using a double volumetric navigated (DvNav) sequence is to appear in NeuroImage with an ISI impact factor of 6.357. Congratulations for this achievement.

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) requires a set of diffusion weighted measurements in order to acquire enough information to characterize local structure. The MRI scanner automatically performs a shimming process by acquiring a field map before the start of a DTI scan. Changes in B0, which can occur throughout the DTI acquisition due to several factors (including heating of the iron shim coils or subject motion), cause significant signal distortions that result in warped diffusion tensor (DT) parameter estimates.

In this paper a novel technique is introduced to simultaneously measure, report and correct in real time subject motion and changes in B0 field homogeneity, both in and through the imaging plane. This is achieved using double volumetric navigators (DvNav), i.e. a pair of 3D EPI acquisitions, interleaved with the DTI pulse sequence. Changes in the B0 field are evaluated in terms of zero-order (frequency) and first-order (linear gradients) shim. The ability of the DvNav to accurately estimate the shim parameters was first validated in a water phantom. Two healthy subjects were scanned both in the presence and absence of motion using standard, motion corrected (single navigator, vNav), and DvNav DTI sequences. The difference in performance between the proposed 3D EPI field maps and the standard 3D gradient echo field maps of the MRI scanner was also evaluated in a phantom and two healthy subjects. The DvNav sequence was shown to accurately measure and correct changes in B0 following manual adjustments of the scanner's central frequency and the linear shim gradients. Compared to other methods, the DvNav produced DTI results that showed greater spatial overlap with anatomical references, particularly in scans with subject motion. This is largely due to the ability of the DvNav system to correct shim changes and subject motion between each volume acquisition, thus reducing shear distortion.