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Frontiers in Neuroscience


Frontiers Media



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Diffusion MRI (dMRI) is a vital source of imaging data for identifying anatomical connections in the living human brain that form the substrate for information transfer between brain regions. dMRI can thus play a central role toward our understanding of brain function. The quantitative modeling and analysis of dMRI data deduces the features of neural fibers at the voxel level, such as direction and density. The modeling methods that have been developed range from deterministic to probabilistic approaches. Currently, the Ball-and-Stick model serves as a widely implemented probabilistic approach in the tractography toolbox of the popular FSL software package and FreeSurfer/TRACULA software package. However, estimation of the features of neural fibers is complex under the scenario of two crossing neural fibers, which occurs in a sizeable proportion of voxels within the brain. A Bayesian non-linear regression is adopted, comprised of a mixture of multiple non-linear components. Such models can pose a difficult statistical estimation problem computationally. To make the approach of Ball-and-Stick model more feasible and accurate, we propose a simplified version of Ball-and-Stick model that reduces parameter space dimensionality. This simplified model is vastly more efficient in the terms of computation time required in estimating parameters pertaining to two crossing neural fibers through Bayesian simulation approaches. Moreover, the performance of this new model is comparable or better in terms of bias and estimation variance as compared to existing models.


Ball-and-Stick model; Bayesian; dMRI, crossing fibers; Simplified model


Bioimaging and Biomedical Optics

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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