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Diffusion Imaging of the Optic Nerve, Spinal Cord, and Peripheral Nerve 

Diffusion Imaging of the Optic Nerve, Spinal Cord, and Peripheral Nerve
Diffusion Imaging of the Optic Nerve, Spinal Cord, and Peripheral Nerve

Claudia A.M Wheeler-Kingshott

and Olga Ciccarelli

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date: 17 January 2020

The optic nerve, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves are often affected by pathological processes, and, therefore, imaging these structures in-vivo is important in order to have information about the underlying pathological abnormalities. Among the different imaging modalities that can be used for these structures, diffusion MRI represents an attractive choice. This chapter deals with the challenges of diffusion MRI in these structures of the central nervous system, e.g., their small size, the motion (physiological and physical) that affects the data, the partial volume effect from fat and cerebro-spinal fluid, and the artefacts induced by susceptibility-changes. After presenting what has been done to overcome the difficulties, examples of pathology studies are given and the usefulness of diffusion MRI in various diseases is discussed. Finally, the chapter looks at future applications, including non-Gaussian diffusion models like q-space, and possible lines of development to increase the success of diffusion MRI in the optic nerve, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.

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