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Abstract #4627

Power-law fits for the direction-averaged diffusion MRI signal: a potential marker for white matter maturation in non-feeding infants

Emilie T McKinnon1,2,3, Hunter G Moss1,3, Bashar W Badran4, Dorothea D Jenkins5, and Jens H Jensen1,3
1Department of Neuroscience, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States, 2Department of Neurology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States, 3Center for Biomedical Imaging, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States, 4Brain Stimulation Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States, 5Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, United States

Preterm or hypoxic ischemic birth is associated with postpartum feeding problems and white matter dysmaturation. Noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation has been proposed as therapy, and here we explore the application of high b-value diffusion MRI to assess changes in white matter following stimulation. Our hypothesis is that using high b-values will improve sensitivity to alterations in white matter as compared with traditional diffusion measures. Power-law fits for high b-value diffusion MRI data were investigated in 12 neonates. We find that the power-law exponent decreases in early development and give preliminary results for its application as a marker for treatment response.

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