Junqian Xu1, Eric C. Klawiter1, Joshua S. Shimony2, Abraham Z. Snyder, 12, Robert T. Naismith1, Agus Priatna3, Tammie Benzinger2, Anne Cross1, Sheng-Kwei Song2
1Neurology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, United States; 2Radiology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, United States; 3Siemens Medical Solution, United States
We describe a reproducible in vivo human cervical spinal cord diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) protocol at 3T. The data acquisition and analysis procedures are described with examples from healthy (n = 17) and pathological human spinal (n = 2) cords. The described comprehensive approach (1) accounts for the natural curvature of the human spinal cord by covering C1-6 with separate tiltable slices/groups, (2) minimizes distortion and signal drop-out by localized shimming, (3) improves the robustness by motion-correction and motion-based outlier rejection, (4) corrects negative eigenvalues by non-negative non-linear DTI calculation, and (5) employs objective geometry based region-of-interest selection for tract identification.