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Dimensionality Reduction of Diffusion MRI Measures for Improved Tractometry of the Human Brain

By Maxime Chamberland, Erika P. Raven, Sila Genc, Kate Duffy, Maxime Descoteaux, Greg D Parker, Chantal M.W. Tax, Derek K Jones

Posted 25 Feb 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/559351 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.06.020)

Various diffusion MRI measures have been proposed for characterising tissue microstructure over the last 15 years. Despite the growing number of experiments using different diffusion measures in assessments of white matter, there has been limited work on: 1) examining their covariance along specific pathways; and on 2) combining these different measures to study tissue microstructure. In this work, we first demonstrate redundancies in the amount of information captured by 10 diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) measures. Using a data-reduction approach, we identified two biologically-interpretable components that capture 80% of the variance in commonly-used DTI and HARDI measures profiled along 22 brain pathways extracted from typically developing children aged 8 - 18 years (n = 36). The first derived component captures properties related to hindrance and restriction in tissue microstructure, while the second component reflects characteristics related to tissue complexity and orientational dispersion. We demonstrate that the components generated by this approach preserve the biological relevance of the original measurements by showing age-related effects across developmentally sensitive pathways. Our results also suggest that HARDI measures are more sensitive at detecting age-related changes in tissue microstructure than DTI measures.

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