Tract-based spatial statistics: voxelwise analysis of multi-subject diffusion data.

Oxford University Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB), Dept. Clinical Neurology, University of Oxford, UK.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.13). 08/2006; 31(4):1487-505. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.02.024
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There has been much recent interest in using magnetic resonance diffusion imaging to provide information about anatomical connectivity in the brain, by measuring the anisotropic diffusion of water in white matter tracts. One of the measures most commonly derived from diffusion data is fractional anisotropy (FA), which quantifies how strongly directional the local tract structure is. Many imaging studies are starting to use FA images in voxelwise statistical analyses, in order to localise brain changes related to development, degeneration and disease. However, optimal analysis is compromised by the use of standard registration algorithms; there has not to date been a satisfactory solution to the question of how to align FA images from multiple subjects in a way that allows for valid conclusions to be drawn from the subsequent voxelwise analysis. Furthermore, the arbitrariness of the choice of spatial smoothing extent has not yet been resolved. In this paper, we present a new method that aims to solve these issues via (a) carefully tuned non-linear registration, followed by (b) projection onto an alignment-invariant tract representation (the "mean FA skeleton"). We refer to this new approach as Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS). TBSS aims to improve the sensitivity, objectivity and interpretability of analysis of multi-subject diffusion imaging studies. We describe TBSS in detail and present example TBSS results from several diffusion imaging studies.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cerebral small vessel disease, including white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and lacunes of presumed vascular origin, is common in elderly people and is related to cognitive impairment and dementia. One possible mechanism could be the disruption of white matter tracts (both within WMH and normal-appearing white matter) that connect distributed brain regions involved in cognitive functions. Here, we investigated the relation between microstructural integrity of the white matter and cognitive functions in patients with small vessel disease. The Radboud University Nijmegen Diffusion tensor and Magnetic resonance Cohort study is a prospective cohort study among 444 independently living, non-demented elderly with cerebral small vessel disease, aged between 5500 and 85 years. All subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging scanning and an extensive neuropsychological assessment. We showed that loss of microstructural integrity of the white matter at specific locations was related to specific cognitive disturbances, which was mainly located in the normal-appearing white matter (p < 0.05, FWE-corrected for multiple comparisons). The microstructural integrity in the genu and splenium showed the highest significant relation with global cognitive function and executive functions, in the cingulum bundle with verbal memory performance. Associations between diffusion tensor imaging parameters and most cognitive domains remained present after adjustment for WMH and lacunes. In conclusion, cognitive disturbances in subjects with cerebral small vessel disease are related to microstructural integrity of multiple white matter fibers (within WMH and normal-appearing white matter) connecting different cortical and subcortical regions.
    02/2015; 7:518-24. DOI:10.1016/j.nicl.2015.02.003
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND) falls under the umbrella of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Diagnosis of ARND is difficult because individuals do not demonstrate the characteristic facial features associated with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). While attentional problems in ARND are similar to those found in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the underlying impairment in attention pathways may be different. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was conducted at 3 T. Sixty-three children aged 10 to 14 years diagnosed with ARND, ADHD, and typically developing (TD) controls performed a single-feature and a feature-conjunction visual search task. Dorsal and ventral attention pathways were activated during both attention tasks in all groups. Significantly greater activation was observed in ARND subjects during a single-feature search as compared to TD and ADHD groups, suggesting ARND subjects require greater neural recruitment to perform this simple task. ARND subjects appear unable to effectively use the very efficient automatic perceptual 'pop-out' mechanism employed by TD and ADHD groups during presentation of the disjunction array. By comparison, activation was lower in ARND compared to TD and ADHD subjects during the more difficult conjunction search task as compared to the single-feature search. Analysis of DTI data using tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) showed areas of significantly lower fractional anisotropy (FA) and higher mean diffusivity (MD) in the right inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) in ARND compared to TD subjects. Damage to the white matter of the ILF may compromise the ventral attention pathway and may require subjects to use the dorsal attention pathway, which is associated with effortful top-down processing, for tasks that should be automatic. Decreased functional activity in the right temporoparietal junction (TPJ) of ARND subjects may be due to a reduction in the white matter tract's ability to efficiently convey information critical to performance of the attention tasks. Limited activation patterns in ARND suggest problems in information processing along the ventral frontoparietal attention pathway. Poor integrity of the ILF, which connects the functional components of the ventral attention network, in ARND subjects may contribute to the attention deficits characteristic of the disorder.
    Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 01/2015; 7(1):10. DOI:10.1186/s11689-015-9106-9 · 3.45 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Obesity is a chronic metabolic disorder that may also lead to reduced white matter integrity, potentially due to shared genetic risk factors. Genetic correlation analyses were conducted in a large cohort of Mexican American families in San Antonio (N = 761, 58% females, ages 18-81 years; 41.3 ± 14.5) from the Genetics of Brain Structure and Function Study. Shared genetic variance was calculated between measures of adiposity [(body mass index (BMI; kg/m(2)) and waist circumference (WC; in)] and whole-brain and regional measurements of cerebral white matter integrity (fractional anisotropy). Whole-brain average and regional fractional anisotropy values for 10 major white matter tracts were calculated from high angular resolution diffusion tensor imaging data (DTI; 1.7 × 1.7 × 3 mm; 55 directions). Additive genetic factors explained intersubject variance in BMI (heritability, h (2) = 0.58), WC (h (2) = 0.57), and FA (h (2) = 0.49). FA shared significant portions of genetic variance with BMI in the genu (ρG = -0.25), body (ρG = -0.30), and splenium (ρG = -0.26) of the corpus callosum, internal capsule (ρG = -0.29), and thalamic radiation (ρG = -0.31) (all p's = 0.043). The strongest evidence of shared variance was between BMI/WC and FA in the superior fronto-occipital fasciculus (ρG = -0.39, p = 0.020; ρG = -0.39, p = 0.030), which highlights region-specific variation in neural correlates of obesity. This may suggest that increase in obesity and reduced white matter integrity share common genetic risk factors.
    Frontiers in Genetics 01/2015; 6:26. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2015.00026


Available from