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Abstract #3488

Impact of white-matter hyperintensities on tractography

Guillaume Theaud1, Bixente Dilharreguy2, Gwénaëlle Catheline2, and Maxime Descoteaux1

1Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab (SCIL), Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada, 2INCIA, UMR 5287, Université de Bordeaux, EPHE PSL Research University, Talence, France

A common way to seed tractography is thresholding the Fractional Anisotropy (FA). This technique is problematic for aging diffusion MRI studies because the FA decreases dramatically in regions of White Matter Hyperintensities (WMH) and thus, the tractography can erroneously start or stop in these WMH regions. We show the importance for tractography pipelines to correct for WMH in their tracking masks. We show that the non-correction can lead to approximately 15% erroneous streamlines, which are false connections that can pollute the structural connectome and lead to misinterpretations.

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