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Abstract #1418

Measurement of white matter atrophy in multiple sclerosis using diffusion weighted imaging

Elisabetta Pagani1, Loredana Storelli1, Paolo Preziosa1,2, Federica Esposito2, Laura Cacciaguerra1,2, Massimo Filippi1,2,3, and Maria A. Rocca1,2
1Neuroimaging Research Unit, Institute of Experimental Neurology, Division of Neuroscience, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy, 2Neurology Unit, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy, 3Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy

Gray matter is more relevant than white matter (WM) atrophy in explaining clinical disability and cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS). However, WM is a complex structure whose fiber orientation should be considered when investigating its morphology. In a group of MS patients and healthy controls, we applied constrained spherical deconvolution and fixel-based morphometry to estimate the distribution of WM fiber bundles and their cross-section area as a measure of atrophy. We found that the application of this approach in MS improved when accounting for the presence of lesions and that atrophy was specific of WM fiber bundles.

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