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Abstract #5229

Sensing Von Economo Neurons in the Insula with Multi-shell Diffusion MRI

Demian Wassermann1,2, Van-Dang Nguyen3, Guillermo Gallardo-Diez2, Jing-Rebecca Li4, Weidong Cai5, and Vinod Menon5

1Parietal, Inria, CEA, Université Paris-Saclay, Palaiseau, France, 2Athena, Inria, Sophia-Antipolis, France, 3Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Stocholm, Sweden, 4DEFI, Inria, Palaiseau, France, 5Stanford Medical School, Palo Alto, CA, United States

Sensing microstructural characteristics of human brain tissue with clinical scanners has been an area of heated debate in the diffusion MRI (dMRI) community . In this work we propose that diffusion MRI on clinical scanners is sensitive to the presence of Von Economo neurons.

Von Economo neurons, located in the insular and anterior cingular cortices, are large neurons present only in mammals with high cognitive functions. Albeit these neurons' role is not yet known, evidence suggests they facilitate rapid long-range information integration.

In this work, we provide theoretical and in-silico evidence that the dMRI signal is sensitive to the presence of Von Economo neurons as well as preliminary evidence on human dMRI images.

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