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Impact of image acquisition on voxel-based morphometry investigations of age-related structural brain changes

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Streitbürger,  Daniel Paolo
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Pampel,  André
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Lepsien,  Jöran
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schroeter,  Matthias L.
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Mueller,  Karsten
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Möller,  Harald E.
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Streitbürger, D. P., Pampel, A., Krueger, G., Lepsien, J., Schroeter, M. L., Mueller, K., et al. (2014). Impact of image acquisition on voxel-based morphometry investigations of age-related structural brain changes. NeuroImage, 87, 170-182. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.10.051.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-9A42-D
Abstract
A growing number of magnetic resonance imaging studies employ voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to assess structural brain changes. Recent reports have shown that image acquisition parameters may influence VBM results. For systematic evaluation, gray-matter-density (GMD) changes associated with aging were investigated by VBM employing acquisitions with different radiofrequency head coils (12-channel matrix coil vs. 32-channel array), different pulse sequences (MP-RAGE vs. MP2RAGE), and different voxel dimensions (1 mm vs. 0.8 mm). Thirty-six healthy subjects, classified as young, middle-aged, or elderly, participated in the study. Two-sample and paired t-tests revealed significant effects of acquisition parameters (coil, pulse sequence, and resolution) on the estimated age-related GMD changes in cortical and subcortical regions. Potential advantages in tissue classification and segmentation were obtained for MP2RAGE. The 32-channel coil generally outperformed the 12-channel coil, with more benefit for MP2RAGE. Further improvement can be expected from higher resolution if the loss in SNR is accounted for. Use of inconsistent acquisition parameters in VBM analyses is likely to introduce systematic bias. Overall, acquisition and protocol changes require careful adaptations of the VBM analysis strategy before generalized conclusion can be drawn.