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The use of multi-parametric maps (MPMs) in ageing research

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Recent advances in image acquisition and image processing make it relatively easy to acquire high-resolution MRI maps that strongly correlate with iron, myelin and tissue-free water contents. These maps are often called multi-parametric maps (MPMs) and the methodology is regarded as a form of non-invasive in vivo histology. In this talk, first I will make an overview of studies showing good agreement between histological and MPM age-related findings. Then, I will discuss how age-related changes in microstructure can confound standard voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analyses, and how this can be overcome using MPMs. Moreover, I will present my recent work comparing two MPM protocols: with 1mm and 1.5mm isotropic voxels, respectively. For the higher resolution, the whole-brain acquisition takes 26 minutes, while for the lower resolution the whole-brain acquisition takes 12 minutes. I found that in terms of sensitivity to age-related differences, the two protocols are very similar. Finally, I will discuss how the higher resolution maps can help delineating small brain structures.

This talk is part of the Imagers Interest Group series.

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