BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Diffusion-weighted MR imaging studies of the adult brain have shown that contrast between lesions and normal tissue is increased at high b-values. We designed a prospective study to test the hypothesis that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) obtained at high b-values increases image contrast and lesion conspicuity in the neonatal brain. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We studied 17 neonates, median (range) age of 10 (2-96) days, who were undergoing MR imaging for clinical indications. DTI was performed on a Philips 3T Intera system with b-values of 350, 700, 1500, and 3000 s/mm2. Image contrast and lesion conspicuity at each b-value were visually assessed. In addition, regions of interest were positioned in the central white matter at the level of the centrum semiovale, frontal and occipital white matter, splenium of the corpus callosum, posterior limb of the internal capsule, and the thalamus. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values for these regions were calculated. RESULTS: Isotropic diffusion image contrast and lesion-to-normal-tissue contrast increased with increasing b-value. ADC values decreased with increasing b-value in all regions studied; however, there was no change in FA with increasing b-value. CONCLUSIONS: Diffusion image contrast increased at high b-values may be useful in identifying lesions in the neonatal brain.

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Journal American Journal of Neuroradiology
Dudink, J, Larkman, D.J, Kapellou, O, Boardman, J.P, Allsop, J.M, Cowan, F.M, … Counsell, S.J. (2008). High b-value diffusion tensor imaging of the neonatal brain at 3T. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 29(10), 1966–1972. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A1241