Publications

2017
Ash SY, Harmouche R, Vallejo DLL, Villalba JA, Ostridge K, Gunville R, Come CE, Onieva Onieva J, Ross JC, Hunninghake GM, et al. Densitometric and local histogram based analysis of computed tomography images in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Respir Res. 2017;18 (1) :45.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Prior studies of clinical prognostication in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) using computed tomography (CT) have often used subjective analyses or have evaluated quantitative measures in isolation. This study examined associations between both densitometric and local histogram based quantitative CT measurements with pulmonary function test (PFT) parameters and mortality. In addition, this study sought to compare risk prediction scores that incorporate quantitative CT measures with previously described systems. METHODS: Forty six patients with biopsy proven IPF were identified from a registry of patients with interstitial lung disease at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA. CT scans for each subject were visually scored using a previously published method. After a semi-automated method was used to segment the lungs from the surrounding tissue, densitometric measurements including the percent high attenuating area, mean lung density, skewness and kurtosis were made for the entirety of each patient's lungs. A separate, automated tool was used to detect and quantify the percent of lung occupied by interstitial lung features. These analyses were used to create clinical and quantitative CT based risk prediction scores, and the performance of these was compared to the performance of clinical and visual analysis based methods. RESULTS: All of the densitometric measures were correlated with forced vital capacity and diffusing capacity, as were the total amount of interstitial change and the percentage of interstitial change that was honeycombing measured using the local histogram method. Higher percent high attenuating area, higher mean lung density, lower skewness, lower kurtosis and a higher percentage of honeycombing were associated with worse transplant free survival. The quantitative CT based risk prediction scores performed similarly to the clinical and visual analysis based methods. CONCLUSIONS: Both densitometric and feature based quantitative CT measures correlate with pulmonary function test measures and are associated with transplant free survival. These objective measures may be useful for identifying high risk patients and monitoring disease progression. Further work will be needed to validate these measures and the quantitative imaging based risk prediction scores in other cohorts.
Kikinis Z, Muehlmann M, Pasternak O, Peled S, Kulkarni P, Ferris C, Bouix S, Rathi Y, Koerte IK, Pieper S, et al. Diffusion Imaging of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in the Impact Accelerated Rodent Model: A Pilot Study. Brain Inj. 2017;31 (10) :1376-1381.Abstract
PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: There is a need to understand pathologic processes of the brain following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Previous studies report axonal injury and oedema in the first week after injury in a rodent model. This study aims to investigate the processes occurring 1 week after injury at the time of regeneration and degeneration using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in the impact acceleration rat mTBI model. RESEARCH DESIGN: Eighteen rats were subjected to impact acceleration injury, and three rats served as sham controls. Seven days post injury, DTI was acquired from fixed rat brains using a 7T scanner. Group comparison of Fractional Anisotropy (FA) values between traumatized and sham animals was performed using Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS), a method that we adapted for rats. MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: TBSS revealed white matter regions of the brain with increased FA values in the traumatized versus sham rats, localized mainly to the contrecoup region. Regions of increased FA included the pyramidal tract, the cerebral peduncle, the superior cerebellar peduncle and to a lesser extent the fibre tracts of the corpus callosum, the anterior commissure, the fimbria of the hippocampus, the fornix, the medial forebrain bundle and the optic chiasm. CONCLUSION: Seven days post injury, during the period of tissue reparation in the impact acceleration rat model of mTBI, microstructural changes to white matter can be detected using DTI.
Delgado AF, Fahlström M, Nilsson M, Berntsson SG, Zetterling M, Libard S, Alafuzoff I, van Westen D, Lätt J, Smits A, et al. Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging of Gliomas Grades II and III - A Study of Perilesional Tumor Infiltration, Tumor Grades and Subtypes at Clinical Presentation. Radiol Oncol. 2017;51 (2) :121-129.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) allows for assessment of diffusion influenced by microcellular structures. We analyzed DKI in suspected low-grade gliomas prior to histopathological diagnosis. The aim was to investigate if diffusion parameters in the perilesional normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) differed from contralesional white matter, and to investigate differences between glioma malignancy grades II and III and glioma subtypes (astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Forty-eight patients with suspected low-grade glioma were prospectively recruited to this institutional review board-approved study and investigated with preoperative DKI at 3T after written informed consent. Patients with histologically proven glioma grades II or III were further analyzed (n=35). Regions of interest (ROIs) were delineated on T2FLAIR images and co-registered to diffusion MRI parameter maps. Mean DKI data were compared between perilesional and contralesional NAWM (student's t-test for dependent samples, Wilcoxon matched pairs test). Histogram DKI data were compared between glioma types and glioma grades (multiple comparisons of mean ranks for all groups). The discriminating potential for DKI in assessing glioma type and grade was assessed with receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves. RESULTS: There were significant differences in all mean DKI variables between perilesional and contralesional NAWM (p=<0.000), except for axial kurtosis (p=0.099). Forty-four histogram variables differed significantly between glioma grades II (n=23) and III (n=12) (p=0.003-0.048) and 10 variables differed significantly between ACs (n=18) and ODs (n=17) (p=0.011-0.050). ROC curves of the best discriminating variables had an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.657-0.815. CONCLUSIONS: Mean DKI variables in perilesional NAWM differ significantly from contralesional NAWM, suggesting altered microstructure by tumor infiltration not depicted on morphological MRI. Histogram analysis of DKI data identifies differences between glioma grades and subtypes.
Ferizi U, Scherrer B, Schneider T, Alipoor M, Eufracio O, Fick RHJ, Deriche R, Nilsson M, Loya-Olivas AK, Rivera M, et al. Diffusion MRI microstructure models with in vivo human brain Connectome data: results from a multi-group comparison. NMR Biomed. 2017;30 (9).Abstract
A large number of mathematical models have been proposed to describe the measured signal in diffusion-weighted (DW) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, model comparison to date focuses only on specific subclasses, e.g. compartment models or signal models, and little or no information is available in the literature on how performance varies among the different types of models. To address this deficiency, we organized the 'White Matter Modeling Challenge' during the International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging (ISBI) 2015 conference. This competition aimed to compare a range of different kinds of models in their ability to explain a large range of measurable in vivo DW human brain data. Specifically, we assessed the ability of models to predict the DW signal accurately for new diffusion gradients and b values. We did not evaluate the accuracy of estimated model parameters, as a ground truth is hard to obtain. We used the Connectome scanner at the Massachusetts General Hospital, using gradient strengths of up to 300 mT/m and a broad set of diffusion times. We focused on assessing the DW signal prediction in two regions: the genu in the corpus callosum, where the fibres are relatively straight and parallel, and the fornix, where the configuration of fibres is more complex. The challenge participants had access to three-quarters of the dataset and their models were ranked on their ability to predict the remaining unseen quarter of the data. The challenge provided a unique opportunity for a quantitative comparison of diverse methods from multiple groups worldwide. The comparison of the challenge entries reveals interesting trends that could potentially influence the next generation of diffusion-based quantitative MRI techniques. The first is that signal models do not necessarily outperform tissue models; in fact, of those tested, tissue models rank highest on average. The second is that assuming a non-Gaussian (rather than purely Gaussian) noise model provides little improvement in prediction of unseen data, although it is possible that this may still have a beneficial effect on estimated parameter values. The third is that preprocessing the training data, here by omitting signal outliers, and using signal-predicting strategies, such as bootstrapping or cross-validation, could benefit the model fitting. The analysis in this study provides a benchmark for other models and the data remain available to build up a more complete comparison in the future.
Ji F, Pasternak O, Liu S, Loke YM, Choo BL, Hilal S, Xu X, Ikram MK, Venketasubramanian N, Chen CL-H, et al. Distinct white matter microstructural abnormalities and extracellular water increases relate to cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's disease with and without cerebrovascular disease. Alzheimers Res Ther. 2017;9 (1) :63.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Mixed vascular and neurodegenerative dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) with concomitant cerebrovascular disease, has emerged as the leading cause of age-related cognitive impairment. The brain white matter (WM) microstructural changes in neurodegeneration well-documented by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can originate from brain tissue or extracellular free water changes. The differential microstructural and free water changes in AD with and without cerebrovascular disease, especially in normal-appearing WM, remain largely unknown. To cover these gaps, we aimed to characterize the WM free water and tissue microstructural changes in AD and mixed dementia as well as their associations with cognition using a novel free water imaging method. METHODS: We compared WM free water and free water-corrected DTI measures as well as white matter hyperintensity (WMH) in patients with AD with and without cerebrovascular disease, patients with vascular dementia, and age-matched healthy control subjects. RESULTS: The cerebrovascular disease groups had higher free water than the non-cerebrovascular disease groups. Importantly, besides the cerebrovascular disease groups, patients with AD without cerebrovascular disease also had increased free water in normal-appearing WM compared with healthy control subjects, reflecting mild vascular damage. Such free water increases in WM or normal-appearing WM (but not WMH) contributed to dementia severity. Whole-brain voxel-wise analysis revealed a close association between widespread free water increases and poorer attention, executive functioning, visual construction, and motor performance, whereas only left hemispheric free water increases were related to language deficits. Moreover, compared with the original DTI metrics, the free water-corrected DTI metric revealed tissue damage-specific (frontal and occipital) microstructural differences between the cerebrovascular disease and non-cerebrovascular disease groups. In contrast to both lobar and subcortical/brainstem free water increases, only focal lobar microstructural damage was associated with poorer cognitive performance. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that free water analysis isolates probable mild vascular damage from WM microstructural alterations and underscore the importance of normal-appearing WM changes underlying cognitive and functional impairment in AD with and without cerebrovascular disease. Further developed, the combined free water and tissue neuroimaging assays could help in differential diagnosis, treatment planning, and disease monitoring of patients with mixed dementia.
Herberthson M, Özarslan E, Knutsson H, Westin C-F. Dynamics of local magnetization in the eigenbasis of the Bloch-Torrey operator. J Chem Phys. 2017;146 (12) :124201.Abstract
We consider diffusion within pores with general shapes in the presence of spatially linear magnetic field profiles. The evolution of local magnetization of the spin bearing particles can be described by the Bloch-Torrey equation. We study the diffusive process in the eigenbasis of the non-Hermitian Bloch-Torrey operator. It is possible to find expressions for some special temporal gradient waveforms employed to sensitize the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) signal to diffusion. For more general gradient waveforms, we derive an efficient numerical solution by introducing a novel matrix formalism. Compared to previous methods, this new approach requires a fewer number of eigenfunctions to achieve the same accuracy. This shows that these basis functions are better suited to the problem studied. The new framework could provide new important insights into the fundamentals of diffusion sensitization, which could further the development of the field of NMR.
Svärd D, Nilsson M, Lampinen B, Lätt J, Sundgren PC, Stomrud E, Minthon L, Hansson O, van Westen D. The effect of white matter hyperintensities on statistical analysis of diffusion tensor imaging in cognitively healthy elderly and prodromal Alzheimer's disease. PLoS One. 2017;12 (9) :e0185239.Abstract
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been used to study microstructural white matter alterations in a variety of conditions including normal aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD). White matter hyperintensities (WMH) are common in cognitively healthy elderly as well as in AD and exhibit elevated mean diffusivity (MD) and reduced fractional anisotropy (FA). However, the effect of WMH on statistical analysis of DTI estimates has not been thoroughly studied. In the present study we address this in two ways. First, we investigate the effect of WMH on MD and FA in the dorsal and ventral cingulum, the superior longitudinal fasciculus, and the corticospinal tract, by comparing two matched groups of cognitively healthy elderly (n = 21 + 21) with unequal WMH load. Second, we assess the effects of adjusting for WMH load when comparing MD and FA in prodromal AD subjects (n = 83) to cognitively healthy elderly (n = 132) in the abovementioned white matter tracts. Results showed the WMH in cognitively healthy elderly to have a generally large effect on DTI estimates (Cohen's d = 0.63 to 1.27 for significant differences in MD and -1.06 to -0.69 for FA). These effect sizes were comparable to those of various neurological and psychiatric diseases (Cohen's d = 0.57 to 2.20 for differences in MD and -1.76 to -0.61 for FA). Adjusting for WMH when comparing DTI estimates in prodromal AD subjects to cognitively healthy elderly improved the explanatory power as well as the outcome of the analysis, indicating that some of the differences in MD and FA were largely driven by unequal WMH load between the groups rather than alterations in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM). Thus, our findings suggest that if the purpose of a study is to compare alterations in NAWM between two groups using DTI it may be necessary to adjust the statistical analysis for WMH.
Sabatine MS, Giugliano RP, Keech AC, Honarpour N, Wiviott SD, Murphy SA, Kuder JF, Wang H, Liu T, Wasserman SM, et al. Evolocumab and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease. N Engl J Med. 2017;376 (18) :1713-1722.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Evolocumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits proprotein convertase subtilisin-kexin type 9 (PCSK9) and lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by approximately 60%. Whether it prevents cardiovascular events is uncertain. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 27,564 patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and LDL cholesterol levels of 70 mg per deciliter (1.8 mmol per liter) or higher who were receiving statin therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to receive evolocumab (either 140 mg every 2 weeks or 420 mg monthly) or matching placebo as subcutaneous injections. The primary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stroke, hospitalization for unstable angina, or coronary revascularization. The key secondary efficacy end point was the composite of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or stroke. The median duration of follow-up was 2.2 years. RESULTS: At 48 weeks, the least-squares mean percentage reduction in LDL cholesterol levels with evolocumab, as compared with placebo, was 59%, from a median baseline value of 92 mg per deciliter (2.4 mmol per liter) to 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) (P<0.001). Relative to placebo, evolocumab treatment significantly reduced the risk of the primary end point (1344 patients [9.8%] vs. 1563 patients [11.3%]; hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 0.92; P<0.001) and the key secondary end point (816 [5.9%] vs. 1013 [7.4%]; hazard ratio, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.88; P<0.001). The results were consistent across key subgroups, including the subgroup of patients in the lowest quartile for baseline LDL cholesterol levels (median, 74 mg per deciliter [1.9 mmol per liter]). There was no significant difference between the study groups with regard to adverse events (including new-onset diabetes and neurocognitive events), with the exception of injection-site reactions, which were more common with evolocumab (2.1% vs. 1.6%). CONCLUSIONS: In our trial, inhibition of PCSK9 with evolocumab on a background of statin therapy lowered LDL cholesterol levels to a median of 30 mg per deciliter (0.78 mmol per liter) and reduced the risk of cardiovascular events. These findings show that patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease benefit from lowering of LDL cholesterol levels below current targets. (Funded by Amgen; FOURIER ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01764633 .).
Ohtani T, Nestor PG, Bouix S, Newell D, Melonakos ED, McCarley RW, Shenton ME, Kubicki M. Exploring the neural substrates of attentional control and human intelligence: Diffusion tensor imaging of prefrontal white matter tractography in healthy cognition. Neuroscience. 2017;341 :52-60.Abstract
We combined diffusion tension imaging (DTI) of prefrontal white matter integrity and neuropsychological measures to examine the functional neuroanatomy of human intelligence. Healthy participants completed the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition (WAIS-III) along with neuropsychological tests of attention and executive control, as measured by Trail Making Test (TMT) and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Stochastic tractography, considered the most effective DTI method, quantified white matter integrity of the medial orbital frontal cortex (mOFC) and rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) circuitry. Based on prior studies, we hypothesized that posterior mOFC-rACC connections may play a key structural role linking attentional control processes and intelligence. Behavioral results provided strong support for this hypothesis, specifically linking attentional control processes, measured by Trails B and WCST perseverative errors, to intelligent quotient (IQ). Hierarchical regression results indicated left posterior mOFC-rACC fractional anisotropy (FA) and Trails B performance time, but not WCST perseverative errors, each contributed significantly to IQ, accounting for approximately 33.95-51.60% of the variance in IQ scores. These findings suggested that left posterior mOFC-rACC white matter connections may play a key role in supporting the relationship of executive functions of attentional control and general intelligence in healthy cognition.
Collins JA, Montal V, Hochberg D, Quimby M, Mandelli ML, Makris N, Seeley WW, Gorno-Tempini ML, Dickerson BC. Focal temporal pole atrophy and network degeneration in semantic variant primary progressive aphasia. Brain. 2017;140 (2) :457-471.Abstract
A wealth of neuroimaging research has associated semantic variant primary progressive aphasia with distributed cortical atrophy that is most prominent in the left anterior temporal cortex; however, there is little consensus regarding which region within the anterior temporal cortex is most prominently damaged, which may indicate the putative origin of neurodegeneration. In this study, we localized the most prominent and consistent region of atrophy in semantic variant primary progressive aphasia using cortical thickness analysis in two independent patient samples (n = 16 and 28, respectively) relative to age-matched controls (n = 30). Across both samples the point of maximal atrophy was located in the same region of the left temporal pole. This same region was the point of maximal atrophy in 100% of individual patients in both semantic variant primary progressive aphasia samples. Using resting state functional connectivity in healthy young adults (n = 89), we showed that the seed region derived from the semantic variant primary progressive aphasia analysis was strongly connected with a large-scale network that closely resembled the distributed atrophy pattern in semantic variant primary progressive aphasia. In both patient samples, the magnitude of atrophy within a brain region was predicted by that region's strength of functional connectivity to the temporopolar seed region in healthy adults. These findings suggest that cortical atrophy in semantic variant primary progressive aphasia may follow connectional pathways within a large-scale network that converges on the temporal pole.
Ofori E, Krismer F, Burciu RG, Pasternak O, McCracken JL, Lewis MM, Du G, McFarland NR, Okun MS, Poewe W, et al. Free water improves detection of changes in the substantia nigra in parkinsonism: A multisite study. Mov Disord. 2017;32 (10) :1457-1464.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Imaging markers that are sensitive to parkinsonism across multiple sites are critically needed for clinical trials. The objective of this study was to evaluate changes in the substantia nigra using single- and bi-tensor models of diffusion magnetic resonance imaging in PD, MSA, and PSP. METHODS: The study cohort (n = 425) included 107 healthy controls and 184 PD, 63 MSA, and 71 PSP patients from 3 movement disorder centers. Bi-tensor free water, free-water-corrected fractional anisotropy, free-water-corrected mean diffusivity, single-tensor fractional anisotropy, and single-tensor mean diffusivity were computed for the anterior and posterior substantia nigra. Correlations were computed between diffusion MRI measures and clinical measures. RESULTS: In the posterior substantia nigra, free water was greater for PSP than MSA and PD patients and controls. PD and MSA both had greater free water than controls. Free-water-corrected fractional anisotropy values were greater for PSP patents than for controls and PD patients. PSP and MSA patient single-tensor mean diffusivity values were greater than controls, and single-tensor fractional anisotropy values were lower for PSP patients than for healthy controls. The parkinsonism effect size for free water was 0.145 in the posterior substantia nigra and 0.072 for single-tensor mean diffusivity. The direction of correlations between single-tensor mean diffusivity and free-water values and clinical scores was similar at each site. CONCLUSIONS: Free-water values in the posterior substantia nigra provide a consistent pattern of findings across patients with PD, MSA, and PSP in a large cohort across 3 sites. Free water in the posterior substantia nigra relates to clinical measures of motor and cognitive symptoms in a large cohort of parkinsonism. © 2017 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.
Sawyer KS, Oscar-Berman M, Barthelemy OJ, Papadimitriou GM, Harris GJ, Makris N. Gender dimorphism of brain reward system volumes in alcoholism. Psychiatry Res. 2017;263 :15-25.Abstract
The brain's reward network has been reported to be smaller in alcoholic men compared to nonalcoholic men, but little is known about the volumes of reward regions in alcoholic women. Morphometric analyses were performed on magnetic resonance brain scans of 60 long-term chronic alcoholics (ALC; 30 men) and 60 nonalcoholic controls (NC; 29 men). We derived volumes of total brain, and cortical and subcortical reward-related structures including the dorsolateral prefrontal (DLPFC), orbitofrontal, and cingulate cortices, and the temporal pole, insula, amygdala, hippocampus, nucleus accumbens septi (NAc), and ventral diencephalon (VDC). We examined the relationships of the volumetric findings to drinking history. Analyses revealed a significant gender interaction for the association between alcoholism and total reward network volumes, with ALC men having smaller reward volumes than NC men and ALC women having larger reward volumes than NC women. Analyses of a priori subregions revealed a similar pattern of reward volume differences with significant gender interactions for DLPFC and VDC. Overall, the volume of the cerebral ventricles in ALC participants was negatively associated with duration of abstinence, suggesting decline in atrophy with greater length of sobriety.
Busch R, Hobbs BD, Zhou J, Castaldi PJ, McGeachie MJ, Hardin ME, Hawrylkiewicz I, Sliwinski P, Yim J-J, Kim WJ, et al. Genetic Association and Risk Scores in a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Meta-analysis of 16,707 Subjects. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2017;57 (1) :35-46.Abstract
The heritability of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) cannot be fully explained by recognized genetic risk factors identified as achieving genome-wide significance. In addition, the combined contribution of genetic variation to COPD risk has not been fully explored. We sought to determine: (1) whether studies of variants from previous studies of COPD or lung function in a larger sample could identify additional associated variants, particularly for severe COPD; and (2) the impact of genetic risk scores on COPD. We genotyped 3,346 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 2,588 cases (1,803 severe COPD) and 1,782 control subjects from four cohorts, and performed association testing with COPD, combining these results with existing genotyping data from 6,633 cases (3,497 severe COPD) and 5,704 control subjects. In addition, we developed genetic risk scores from SNPs associated with lung function and COPD and tested their discriminatory power for COPD-related measures. We identified significant associations between SNPs near PPIC (P = 1.28 × 10) and PPP4R4/SERPINA1 (P = 1.01 × 10) and severe COPD; the latter association may be driven by recognized variants in SERPINA1. Genetic risk scores based on SNPs previously associated with COPD and lung function had a modest ability to discriminate COPD (area under the curve, ∼0.6), and accounted for a mean 0.9-1.9% lower forced expiratory volume in 1 second percent predicted for each additional risk allele. In a large genetic association analysis, we identified associations with severe COPD near PPIC and SERPINA1. A risk score based on combining genetic variants had modest, but significant, effects on risk of COPD and lung function.
Koppelmans V, Pasternak O, Bloomberg JJ, Dios YDE, Wood SJ, Riascos R, Reuter-Lorenz PA, Kofman IS, Mulavara AP, Seidler RD. Intracranial Fluid Redistribution But No White Matter Microstructural Changes During a Spaceflight Analog. Sci Rep. 2017;7 (1) :3154.Abstract
The neural correlates of spaceflight-induced sensorimotor impairments are unknown. Head down-tilt bed rest (HDBR) serves as a microgravity analog because it mimics the headward fluid shift and axial body unloading of spaceflight. We investigated focal brain white matter (WM) changes and fluid shifts during 70 days of 6° HDBR in 16 subjects who were assessed pre (2x), during (3x), and post-HDBR (2x). Changes over time were compared to those in control subjects (n = 12) assessed four times over 90 days. Diffusion MRI was used to assess WM microstructure and fluid shifts. Free-Water Imaging was used to quantify distribution of intracranial extracellular free water (FW). Additionally, we tested whether WM and FW changes correlated with changes in functional mobility and balance measures. HDBR resulted in FW increases in fronto-temporal regions and decreases in posterior-parietal regions that largely recovered by two weeks post-HDBR. WM microstructure was unaffected by HDBR. FW decreases in the post-central gyrus and precuneus correlated negatively with balance changes. We previously reported that gray matter increases in these regions were associated with less HDBR-induced balance impairment, suggesting adaptive structural neuroplasticity. Future studies are warranted to determine causality and underlying mechanisms.
Shaffer JJ, Ghayoor A, Long JD, Kim RE-Y, Lourens S, O'Donnell LJ, Westin C-F, Rathi Y, Magnotta V, Paulsen JS, et al. Longitudinal diffusion changes in prodromal and early HD: Evidence of white-matter tract deterioration. Hum Brain Mapp. 2017;38 (3) :1460-1477.Abstract
INTRODUCTION: Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetic neurodegenerative disorder that primarily affects striatal neurons. Striatal volume loss is present years before clinical diagnosis; however, white matter degradation may also occur prior to diagnosis. Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) can measure microstructural changes associated with degeneration that precede macrostructural changes. DWI derived measures enhance understanding of degeneration in prodromal HD (pre-HD). METHODS: As part of the PREDICT-HD study, N = 191 pre-HD individuals and 70 healthy controls underwent two or more (baseline and 1-5 year follow-up) DWI, with n = 649 total sessions. Images were processed using cutting-edge DWI analysis methods for large multicenter studies. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics were computed in selected tracts connecting the primary motor, primary somato-sensory, and premotor areas of the cortex with the subcortical caudate and putamen. Pre-HD participants were divided into three CAG-Age Product (CAP) score groups reflecting clinical diagnosis probability (low, medium, or high probabilities). Baseline and longitudinal group differences were examined using linear mixed models. RESULTS: Cross-sectional and longitudinal differences in DTI measures were present in all three CAP groups compared with controls. The high CAP group was most affected. CONCLUSIONS: This is the largest longitudinal DWI study of pre-HD to date. Findings showed DTI differences, consistent with white matter degeneration, were present up to a decade before predicted HD diagnosis. Our findings indicate a unique role for disrupted connectivity between the premotor area and the putamen, which may be closely tied to the onset of motor symptoms in HD. Hum Brain Mapp 38:1460-1477, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Washko GR, Kinney GL, Ross JC, San José Estépar R, Han MLK, Dransfield MT, Kim V, Hatabu H, Come CE, Bowler RP, et al. Lung Mass in Smokers. Acad Radiol. 2017;24 (4) :386-392.Abstract
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVE: Emphysema is characterized by airspace dilation, inflammation, and irregular deposition of elastin and collagen in the interstitium. Computed tomographic studies have reported that lung mass (LM) may be increased in smokers, a finding attributed to inflammatory and parenchymal remodeling processes observed on histopathology. We sought to examine the epidemiologic and clinical associations of LM in smokers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Baseline epidemiologic, clinical, and computed tomography (CT) data (n = 8156) from smokers enrolled into the COPDGene Study were analyzed. LM was calculated from the CT scan. Changes in lung function at 5 years' follow-up were available from 1623 subjects. Regression analysis was performed to assess for associations of LM with forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV) and FEVdecline. RESULTS: Subjects with Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 1 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease had greater LM than either smokers with normal lung function or those with GOLD 2-4 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (P < 0.001 for both comparisons). LM was predictive of the rate of the decline in FEV(decline per 100 g, -4.7 ± 1.7 mL/y, P = 0.006). CONCLUSIONS: Our cross-sectional data suggest the presence of a biphasic radiological remodeling process in smokers: the presence of such nonlinearity must be accounted for in longitudinal computed tomographic studies. Baseline LM predicts the decline in lung function.
Tylee DS, Kikinis Z, Quinn TP, Antshel KM, Fremont W, Tahir MA, Zhu A, Gong X, Glatt SJ, Coman IL, et al. Machine-learning classification of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: A diffusion tensor imaging study. Neuroimage Clin. 2017;15 :832-842.Abstract
Chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) is a genetic neurodevelopmental syndrome that has been studied intensively in order to understand relationships between the genetic microdeletion, brain development, cognitive function, and the emergence of psychiatric symptoms. White matter microstructural abnormalities identified using diffusion tensor imaging methods have been reported to affect a variety of neuroanatomical tracts in 22q11.2DS. In the present study, we sought to combine two discovery-based approaches: (1) white matter query language was used to parcellate the brain's white matter into tracts connecting pairs of 34, bilateral cortical regions and (2) the diffusion imaging characteristics of the resulting tracts were analyzed using a machine-learning method called support vector machine in order to optimize the selection of a set of imaging features that maximally discriminated 22q11.2DS and comparison subjects. With this unique approach, we both confirmed previously-recognized 22q11.2DS-related abnormalities in the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF), and identified, for the first time, 22q11.2DS-related anomalies in the middle longitudinal fascicle and the extreme capsule, which may have been overlooked in previous, hypothesis-guided studies. We further observed that, in participants with 22q11.2DS, ILF metrics were significantly associated with positive prodromal symptoms of psychosis.
Seroussi I, Grebenkov DS, Pasternak O, Sochen N. Microscopic interpretation and generalization of the Bloch-Torrey equation for diffusion magnetic resonance. J Magn Reson. 2017;277 :95-103.Abstract
In order to bridge microscopic molecular motion with macroscopic diffusion MR signal in complex structures, we propose a general stochastic model for molecular motion in a magnetic field. The Fokker-Planck equation of this model governs the probability density function describing the diffusion-magnetization propagator. From the propagator we derive a generalized version of the Bloch-Torrey equation and the relation to the random phase approach. This derivation does not require assumptions such as a spatially constant diffusion coefficient, or ad hoc selection of a propagator. In particular, the boundary conditions that implicitly incorporate the microstructure into the diffusion MR signal can now be included explicitly through a spatially varying diffusion coefficient. While our generalization is reduced to the conventional Bloch-Torrey equation for piecewise constant diffusion coefficients, it also predicts scenarios in which an additional term to the equation is required to fully describe the MR signal.
Topgaard D. Multidimensional diffusion MRI. J Magn Reson. 2017;275 :98-113.Abstract
Principles from multidimensional NMR spectroscopy, and in particular solid-state NMR, have recently been transferred to the field of diffusion MRI, offering non-invasive characterization of heterogeneous anisotropic materials, such as the human brain, at an unprecedented level of detail. Here we revisit the basic physics of solid-state NMR and diffusion MRI to pinpoint the origin of the somewhat unexpected analogy between the two fields, and provide an overview of current diffusion MRI acquisition protocols and data analysis methods to quantify the composition of heterogeneous materials in terms of diffusion tensor distributions with size, shape, and orientation dimensions. While the most advanced methods allow estimation of the complete multidimensional distributions, simpler methods focus on various projections onto lower-dimensional spaces as well as determination of means and variances rather than actual distributions. Even the less advanced methods provide simple and intuitive scalar parameters that are directly related to microstructural features that can be observed in optical microscopy images, e.g. average cell eccentricity, variance of cell density, and orientational order - properties that are inextricably entangled in conventional diffusion MRI. Key to disentangling all these microstructural features is MRI signal acquisition combining isotropic and directional dimensions, just as in the field of multidimensional solid-state NMR from which most of the ideas for the new methods are derived.
Lampinen B, Szczepankiewicz F, Mårtensson J, van Westen D, Sundgren PC, Nilsson M. Neurite density imaging versus imaging of microscopic anisotropy in diffusion MRI: A model comparison using spherical tensor encoding. Neuroimage. 2017;147 :517-531.Abstract
In diffusion MRI (dMRI), microscopic diffusion anisotropy can be obscured by orientation dispersion. Separation of these properties is of high importance, since it could allow dMRI to non-invasively probe elongated structures such as neurites (axons and dendrites). However, conventional dMRI, based on single diffusion encoding (SDE), entangles microscopic anisotropy and orientation dispersion with intra-voxel variance in isotropic diffusivity. SDE-based methods for estimating microscopic anisotropy, such as the neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI) method, must thus rely on model assumptions to disentangle these features. An alternative approach is to directly quantify microscopic anisotropy by the use of variable shape of the b-tensor. Along those lines, we here present the 'constrained diffusional variance decomposition' (CODIVIDE) method, which jointly analyzes data acquired with diffusion encoding applied in a single direction at a time (linear tensor encoding, LTE) and in all directions (spherical tensor encoding, STE). We then contrast the two approaches by comparing neurite density estimated using NODDI with microscopic anisotropy estimated using CODIVIDE. Data were acquired in healthy volunteers and in glioma patients. NODDI and CODIVIDE differed the most in gray matter and in gliomas, where NODDI detected a neurite fraction higher than expected from the level of microscopic diffusion anisotropy found with CODIVIDE. The discrepancies could be explained by the NODDI tortuosity assumption, which enforces a connection between the neurite density and the mean diffusivity of tissue. Our results suggest that this assumption is invalid, which leads to a NODDI neurite density that is inconsistent between LTE and STE data. Using simulations, we demonstrate that the NODDI assumptions result in parameter bias that precludes the use of NODDI to map neurite density. With CODIVIDE, we found high levels of microscopic anisotropy in white matter, intermediate levels in structures such as the thalamus and the putamen, and low levels in the cortex and in gliomas. We conclude that accurate mapping of microscopic anisotropy requires data acquired with variable shape of the b-tensor.

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