Deep grey matter volumetry as a function of age using a semi-automatic qMRI algorithm
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Quantitative Magnetic Resonance has become more and more accepted for clinical trial in many fields. This technique not only can generate qMRI maps (such as T1/T2/PD) but also can be used for further postprocessing including segmentation of brain and characterization of different brain tissue. Another main application of qMRI is to measure the volume of the brain tissue such as the deep Grey Matter (dGM). The deep grey matter serves as the brain's "relay station" which receives and sends inputs between the cortical brain regions. An abnormal volume of the dGM is associated with certain diseases such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The goal of this study is to investigate the effect of age on the volume change of the dGM using qMRI. Thirteen patients (mean age= 26.7 years old and age range from 0.5 to 72.5 years old) underwent imaging at a 1.5T MR scanner. Axial images of the entire brain were acquired with the mixed Turbo Spin-echo (mixed -TSE) pulse sequence. The acquired mixed-TSE images were transferred in DICOM format image for further analysis using the MathCAD 2001i software (Mathsoft, Cambridge, MA). Quantitative T1 and T2-weighted MR images were generated. The image data sets were further segmented using the dual-space clustering segmentation. Then volume of the dGM matter was calculated using a pixel counting algorithm and the spectrum of the T1/T2/PD distribution were also generated. Afterwards, the dGM volume of each patient was calculated and plotted on scatter plot. The mean volume of the dGM, standard deviation, and range were also calculated. The result shows that volume of the dGM is 47.5 ±5.3ml (N=13) which is consistent with former studies. The polynomial tendency line generated based on scatter plot shows that the volume of the dGM gradually increases with age at early age and reaches the maximum volume around the age of 20, and then it starts to decrease gradually in adulthood and drops much faster in elderly age. This result may help scientists to understand more about the aging of the brain and it can also be used to compare with the results from former studies using different techniques.