Data Driven Algorithm For Visualizing Myelin in The Human Brain

Quantification of myelin content in the human brain is the key for early disease detection and for assessing treatment response in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. However, it has remained challenging due to lack of a reliable method for probing sub-voxel features from clinical MRI data. We developed a data-driven algorithm that accurately converts clinical MRI images into myelin water maps – maps indicating the relative amount of myelin within each image voxel. 

Quantifying myelin content in the human brain is essential for studying developmental processes and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Unfortunately, myelin sheaths are too small to be visualized directly in clinical MRI due to their limited voxel resolution (~1 mm). 
We propose a data-driven multicomponent algorithm that accurately quantifies the relative amount myelin water in each voxel image – a proxy for myelin. When applied to clinical MRI images this algorithm produces myelin water fraction maps of the entire brain. 
The suggested algorithm can provide early disease detection, assessment of treatment response and improved patient follow ups. Potential users are: research institutes, drug companies, MRI units in Medical Centers, and medical imaging companies.
A ready-to-use computer program (implemented in MATLAB and C++) was developed and validated on custom built sub-voxel phantoms modeling white matter tissue, and in vivo on mouse models of demyelination. Myelin water fraction maps were produced from clinical MRI data of the white matter of healthy subjects.
Ben-Eliezer N, Omer Noam, Galun Meirav. “A method for probing microscopic tissue architecture based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) T2 relaxation decay curves”. US Provisional Patent Application No. 63/142,019.

• Omer N, Katzir TB, Bnaiahu N, Galun M, Ben-Eliezer N. A novel multicomponent T analysis for identification of sub-voxel compartments and quantification of myelin water fraction. E-poster, accepted for the 28th Proc Intl Soc Mag Reson Med, p. 6109, Sydney (2020).
• Omer N, Wilczynski E, Stern N, Katzir TB, Galun M, Ben-Eliezer N. In vivo validation of a data driven algorithm for multicomponent T2 mapping on a mice model of demyelination. E-poster, accepted for the 29th Proc Intl Soc Mag Reson Med, p. 4064, Vancouver (2021).
• Omer N, Galun M, Stern N, Katzir TB, Ben-Eliezer N. Data Driven Algorithm for Myelin Water Imaging: Probing Sub-Voxel Compartmentation Based on Identification of Spatially Global Tissue Features, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, Under review (manuscript no. 2122-22336).

Sign up for
our events

    Life Science