Diffusion tensor imaging: background, potential, and utility in psychiatric research

Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Feb 1;55(3):201-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2003.07.001.


Diffusion tensor imaging is a variation of magnetic resonance imaging that measures the diffusion of water in tissues. This can help measure and quantify a tissue's orientation and structure, making it an ideal tool for examining cerebral white matter and neural fiber tracts. It is only beginning to be utilized in psychiatric research. This article reviews the theory behind diffusion tensor imaging, its potential to map fiber tracts in the brain, and its recent use in psychiatric research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Water
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Diffusion
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / pathology
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology*
  • Neural Pathways / pathology
  • Psychiatry / methods
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis