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Optimal estimation of the diffusion coefficient from non-averaged and averaged noisy magnitude data

Optimal estimation of the diffusion coefficient from non-averaged and averaged noisy magnitude data

Journal of Magnetic Resonance 187(2): 293-305

The magnitude operation changes the signal distribution in MRI images from Gaussian to Rician. This introduces a bias that must be taken into account when estimating the apparent diffusion coefficient. Several estimators are known in the literature. In the present paper, two novel schemes are proposed. Both are based on simple least squares fitting of the measured signal, either to the median (MD) or to the maximum probability (MP) value of the Probability Density Function (PDF). Fitting to the mean (MN) or a high signal-to-noise ratio approximation to the mean (HS) is also possible. Special attention is paid to the case of averaged magnitude images. The PDF, which cannot be expressed in closed form, is analyzed numerically. A scheme for performing maximum likelihood (ML) estimation from averaged magnitude images is proposed. The performance of several estimators is evaluated by Monte Carlo (MC) simulations. We focus on typical clinical situations, where the number of acquisitions is limited. For non-averaged data the optimal choice is found to be MP or HS, whereas uncorrected schemes and the power image (PI) method should be avoided. For averaged data MD and ML perform equally well, whereas uncorrected schemes and HS are inadequate. MD provides easier implementation and higher computational efficiency than ML. Unbiased estimation of the diffusion coefficient allows high resolution diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and may therefore help solving the problem of crossing fibers encountered in white matter tractography.

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Accession: 054768910

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 17572124

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmr.2007.05.004

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