Diffusion Tensor MRI Predictors of Cognitive Impairment in Confluent White Matter Lesion


Principal Investigator:

   Xiaogang Wang (Dept. of Electronic Engineering, CUHK)


   Vincent Mok (Dept. of Medicine & Terapeutics, CUHK)

   Winnie Chu (Dept. of Radiology & Organ Imaging, CUHK)

   Jing Yuan (Dept. of Radiology & Organ Imaging, CUHK)


Shun Hing Institute



Although age-related white matter lesion (WML) is an important substrate for cognitive impairment in the elderly, the mechanisms whereby WML induces cognitive impairment are uncertain. Recent findings based on small studies suggested that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) measures might be the most sensitive imaging predictors in patients with WML. Understanding the imaging predictors for such disease will be useful in monitoring disease progression and in devising surrogate marker for treatment trials.

   Our goal is to propose a set of new DTI measures, such as integrity, discontinuity and connectivity of white matter fiber bundles which correspond to anatomical structures, and to investigate their correlation with cognitive impairment. In order to obtain these measures from DTI properly, two technical challenges will be solved. First, model the pathways of white matter tracts by connecting local diffusion measurements into global fiber trajectories. Second, group fiber trajectories into anatomically meaningful bundles incorporating the prior knowledge input by neurologists. The proposed DTI measures reveal disruption of connections within anatomical structures of interest. They better indicate WML than the measures adopted in existing studies.