Changes in brain water diffusion during childhood

Neuroradiology. 1999 Dec;41(12):929-34. doi: 10.1007/s002340050869.


We studied the changes in brain water diffusion in childhood as seen on diffusion-weighted MRI in 30 children from 1 day of life to 17 years to provide a data base and to investigate the correlation of diffusion changes with known patterns of white matter maturation. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and apparent anisotropy (AA) were calculated in numerous regions of the brain to include major white matter tracts and gray matter. ADC and AA values were directly related to the structural maturity and compactness of the white matter tracts and changed with aging in a way that predated early myelination markers such as signal change on T1- or T2-weighted images. Diffusion of water is sensitive to structural changes in the brain such as white matter maturation and may be useful in investigating white matter disorders.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anisotropy
  • Body Water / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diffusion
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology