Developmental Science

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Volume 5 Issue 3 (August 2002), Pages iii-iii, 265-396

Monitoring brain development with quantitative diffusion tensor imaging (pages 286-292)

Abstract

Quantifying changes that occur during brain maturation may help in diagnosing diseases that affect pediatric patients. By obtaining normative curves that define brain maturation, pathological changes may be easier to recognize. We assessed diffusion changes which are inherently related to the brain structure during maturation and obtained normative curves. MR scans were obtained for 26 pediatric subjects (ages 0 to 11 years) and four adults. The MR images were all normal. Maps of the average diffusion constant (Dav) were calculated for each subject. Changes in Dav were determined with distribution analysis for the entire brain and compared with regions of interest measurements from the periventricular white matter and thalamus. The mean diffusion constant of the whole brain changes quite rapidly as the brain matures. The data suggest that at least two distinct processes are responsible for the change. Quantitative diffusion tensor imaging may provide means of quantifying overall human brain maturation that may be useful in diagnosing pathology.

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