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Publication Detail
Optimising time-varying gradient orientation for microstructure sensitivity in diffusion-weighted MR.
Abstract
Here we investigate whether varying the diffusion-gradient orientation during a general waveform single pulsed-field gradient sequence improves sensitivity to the size of coherently oriented pores over having a fixed orientation. The experiment optimises the shape and the orientation of the gradient waveform in each of a set of measurements to minimise the expected variance of estimates of the parameters of a simple model. A key application motivating the work is measuring the size of axons in white matter. Thus, we use a two compartment white matter model with impermeable, single-radius cylinders, and search for waveforms that maximise the sensitivity to axon radius, intra-cellular volume fraction and diffusion constants. Output of the optimisation suggests the only benefit of allowing the gradient orientation to vary in the plane perpendicular to the cylinders is that we can gain perpendicular gradient strength by maximising two orthogonal gradients simultaneously. This suggests that varying orientation in itself does not increase the sensitivity to model parameters. On the other hand, the variation in a plane containing the parallel direction increases the sensitivity significantly because parallel sensitivity improves the diffusion constant estimates. However, we also find that similar improvement in the estimates can be achieved without optimising the orientation, but by having one measurement in the parallel and the rest in the perpendicular direction. The optimisation searches a very large space where it cannot hope to find the global minimum so we cannot make a categorical conclusion. However, given the consistency of the results in multiple reruns and variations of the experiments reported here, we can suggest that for probing coherently oriented systems, pulse sequences with variable orientation, such as double-wave vector sequences, do not offer more advantage than fixed orientation sequences with optimised shape. The advantage of varying orientation is however likely to emerge for more complex systems with dispersed pore orientation.
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Dept of Computer Science
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Dept of Computer Science
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