A1 Journal article – refereed
Test-retest reliability of Diffusion Tensor Imaging metrics in neonates

List of Authors: Merisaari H., Tuulari J.J., Karlsson L., Scheinin N.M., Parkkola R., Saunavaara J., Lähdesmäki T., Lehtola S.J., Keskinen M., Lewis J.D., Evans A.C., Karlsson H.
Publication year: 2019
Journal: NeuroImage
Journal name in source: NEUROIMAGE
Journal acronym: NEUROIMAGE
Volume number: 197
Number of pages: 10
ISSN: 1053-8119

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been widely used in children and adults to study the microstructural features of the brain. Its use in neonate brains has been limited. Neonate brains are almost completely unmyelinated, and this together with the tendency for babies to move during a scanning session may affect the reliability of the measurements. Here we divided a 96 direction acquisition into three segments, and analysed the intra scan test-retest reliability for pairs of segments. Each segment was subjected to a rigorous quality control, and from the surviving data we chose 25 diffusion encoding directions from each segment, and assessed the pairwise reliability of the most common DTI metrics. This pairwise reliability was assessed for data from 86 infants. We used tractbased spatial statistics (TBSS), voxelwise and ROI analysis schemes, to see potential differential effects of analysis strategy and post processing on the obtained DTI metrics. We found that intra class correlation coefficient (ICC) values were generally high (ICC > 0.80). Residual motion in the data, after quality control, was not found to associate with the diffusion metrics. The results indicate that DTI metrics from neonate data can be reliable, even at relatively low angular resolution that are common for neonate scans. The results lend confidence to the use of neonate DTI data in cross sectional and longitudinal analyses in brain white matter skeleton. Future studies should assess the reliability of fiber tracking techniques in neonate data.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 20:32