Kai Zhong1, Lynn Anderson2, Linda Chang2, Thomas Ernst2, Oliver Speck1
1Biomedical Magnetic Resonance, Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Saxon-Anhalt, Germany; 2Department of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, United States
Direct phase images have been shown to yield superior gray (GM) and white matter (WM) contrast at high field compared to conventional magnitude images. However, the contrast mechanisms are still being discussed. Previous studies are limited to high field and adult volunteers or patients. In this study, phase imaging in neonates is demonstrated for the first time and provides insights to the various factors contributing to phase contrast, such as water macromolecule exchange (WME) and myelination. Phase differences between GM and WM are significantly reduced in neonates prior to myelination and seem to originate primarily from WME contrast. Therefore, direct phase imaging can study brain development and related pathologies in neonates.