Different spatial scales of micro-structural alteration with disease can be interrogated by varying the time water has to interact with its surroundings (e.g. membranes, etc). Oscillating gradient spin echo (OGSE) diffusion MRI enables much shorter diffusion times (e.g. 6 ms) than typical pulsed gradient spin-echo (PGSE) (e.g. 40 ms). The large diffusion reduction typically observed with PGSE in ischemic lesions in human stroke was markedly less with OGSE, and the OGSE-PGSE difference was greatest for radial diffusivity in ischemic white matter. This result is consistent with the swelling and beading of the axons underlying diffusion contrast in cerebral ischemia.