The diffusion in voxels with multidirectional fibers can be quite complicated and not necessarily well characterized by the standard diffusion tensor model. High angular resolution diffusion-weighted acquisitions have recently been proposed as a method to investigate such voxels, but the reconstruction methods proposed require sophisticated estimation schemes. We present here a simple algorithm for the identification of diffusion anisotropy based upon the variance of the estimated apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) as a function of measurement direction. The rationale for this method is discussed, and results in normal human subjects acquired with a novel diffusion-weighted stimulated-echo spiral acquisition are presented which distinguish areas of anisotropy that are not apparent in the relative anisotropy maps derived from the standard diffusion tensor model. Published 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.