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  Estimating the effect of a scanner upgrade on measures of grey matter structure for longitudinal designs

Medawar, E., Thieleking, R., Manuilova, I., Paerisch, M., Villringer, A., Witte, A. V., et al. (2021). Estimating the effect of a scanner upgrade on measures of grey matter structure for longitudinal designs. PLoS One, 16(10): e0239021. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0239021.

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Medawar, Evelyn1, 2, 3, Author              
Thieleking, Ronja1, Author              
Manuilova, Iryna1, Author
Paerisch, Maria1, Author              
Villringer, Arno1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Author              
Witte, A. Veronica1, 4, 5, Author              
Beyer, Frauke1, 4, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              
2Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Center for Stroke Research, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Collaborative Research Center Obesity Mechanisms, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
5Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: Longitudinal imaging studies are crucial for advancing the understanding of brain development over the lifespan. Thus, more and more studies acquire imaging data at multiple time points or with long follow-up intervals. In these studies changes to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners often become inevitable which may decrease the reliability of the MRI assessments and introduce biases. We therefore investigated the difference between MRI scanners with subsequent versions (3 Tesla Siemens Verio vs. Skyra) on the cortical and subcortical measures of grey matter in 116 healthy, young adults using the well-established longitudinal FreeSurfer stream for T1-weighted brain images. We found excellent between-scanner reliability for cortical and subcortical measures of grey matter structure (intra-class correlation coefficient > 0.8). Yet, paired t-tests revealed statistically significant differences in at least 67% of the regions, with percent differences around 2 to 4%, depending on the outcome measure. Offline correction for gradient distortions only slightly reduced these biases. Further, T1-imaging based quality measures reflecting gray-white matter contrast systematically differed between scanners. We conclude that scanner upgrades during a longitudinal study introduce bias in measures of cortical and subcortical grey matter structure. Therefore, before upgrading a MRI scanner during an ongoing study, researchers should prepare to implement an appropriate correction method for these effects.

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 Dates: 2020-09-092021-08-132021-10-05
 Publication Status: Published online
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Title: PLoS One
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: San Francisco, CA : Public Library of Science
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 16 (10) Sequence Number: e0239021 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1932-6203
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1000000000277850