Evaluation of the accuracy and angular resolution of q-ball imaging

Neuroimage. 2008 Aug 1;42(1):262-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.03.053. Epub 2008 Apr 9.


Q-ball imaging (QBI) has been proposed for the mapping of multiple intravoxel fiber structures using the Funk-Radon transform on high angular resolution diffusion images (HARDI). However, the accuracy and the angular resolution of QBI to define fiber orientations and its dependence on diffusion imaging parameters remain unclear. The phantom models, made up of sheets of parallel capillaries filled with water, were designed to evaluate the accuracy and the angular resolution of QBI at different |q| values. With an inner diameter of 20 mum and an outer diameter of 90 mum, the capillaries afforded a restrictive environment compared with the diffusion measurement scale. Further, the angular resolutions of QBI at various |q| value were also quantified on the corpus callosum in the human brain. The full width at half maximum (FWHM) of the main lobe of normalized orientation distribution function (nODF) was calculated and adopted to quantify the angular resolution of QBI. With the phantom model, a higher |q| value resulted in worse accuracy but better angular resolution for QBI. The same trend where a higher |q| value yielded a better angular resolution was also observed in the human study. Upon comparison of QBI with T2WI, QBI with |q|=277 cm(-1) (b=3000 s/mm(2)) was found to be insufficient to differentiate capillaries crossing at 45 degrees . However, when encoding with |q|=320, 358, and 392 cm(-1) (b=4000, 5000, and 6000 s/mm(2)), the deviation angles between the primary ODF and the 45 degrees phantoms were -4.91 degrees +/-2.72 degrees , -1.37 degrees +/-2.32 degrees , and -0.69 degrees +/-1.54 degrees with adequate signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). These results were consistent with the FWHM-nODF, which showed that a |q| value of 320 cm(-1) was the threshold to resolve capillaries intersecting at 45 degrees . Additionally, it was demonstrated in both the phantom model and the human brain that QBI encoding with lower |q| values may result in underestimation of the orientations of the crossing fibers. In conclusion, QBI was found to accurately resolve crossing fiber orientations and was highly dependent on the selected |q| value.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity